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Irrigator of Souls
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Guru behind Apple's A-series, AMD's Zen chips takes over Tesla's Autopilot hardware
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"Jim Keller is joining Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. Jim will bring together the best internal and external hardware technologies to develop the safest, most advanced autopilot systems in the world."
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Some of the biggest names in the technology world are devoting serious time and resources to infusing automobiles with smarts: Google's self-driving cars can frequently be seen cruising California streets, Nvidia's doubling down hard on automotive processors, Uber's testing autonomous vehicles with top university researchers, and even Apple's been strongly rumored as having an interest in the field.
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We're still a long way from truly autonomous vehicles being a regular sight on city streets, and all the top names in tech are racing to be the first to make that breakthrough. By bringing in "the fixer"-Keller's designed many of the most revolutionary processors of the past decade-plus-Tesla's putting its money where its mouth is. We'll know in the next few years whether Keller's still got the magic touch.
Sounds like battle lines are being drawn yet again between Jim Keller and Nvidia, and this time the field is a bit more for the taking, with Google, Apple, and Uber in the mix as well. It will be interesting to see how this progresses in the coming years.
 

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pass the lortabs
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If you want the best, you bring in the best.
 

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I <3 narcissists
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

I don't understand. Jim is a microprocessor architect. The issue with self driving cars isn't the hardware, but the software running the platform to react as needed.
Software needs hardware to run on, it tends to be pretty worthless without it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

I don't understand. Jim is a microprocessor architect. The issue with self driving cars isn't the hardware, but the software running the platform to react as needed.
There is a burgeoning industry revolving around autonomous vehicles.

http://www.nvidia.com/object/drive-px.html
 

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Irrigator of Souls
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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

I don't understand. Jim is a microprocessor architect. The issue with self driving cars isn't the hardware, but the software running the platform to react as needed.
If that were true, it calls Nvidia's initiative in question. Autopilot algorithms probably require low-latency, hardened, solid-state solutions related to massively parallel hardware systems (which is why Nvidia is making the push).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by infranoia View Post

If that were true, it calls Nvidia's initiative in question. Autopilot algorithms probably require low-latency, hardened, solid-state solutions related to massively parallel hardware systems (which is why Nvidia is making the push).
Good point, but isn't Nvidia just using a Tegra?

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Originally Posted by geoxile View Post

If that's true why did they hire Jim Keller as a hardware guy?
Fair enough. You guys thing Tesla wasn't to make their own designs then.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoxile View Post

If that's true why did they hire Jim Keller as a hardware guy?
Elon Musk is a user here and took pity on him since Zen is going to be a colossal failure.
biggrin.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by p4inkill3r View Post

Elon Musk is a user here and took pity on him since Zen is going to be a colossal failure.
biggrin.gif
Lol that's pretty mean. Let it land. These threads are overrun with gossip/ rant banter. Still, entertaining nevertheless! 'news'
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

Fair enough. You guys thing Tesla wasn't to make their own designs then.
why shouldnt they, or couldnt they?

tesla has the cash and the manpower to develop their own subsystems to, in their eyes, limit the time for coms/processing between pieces of hardware even more than it already is.
dedicated hardware designed from the ground up for what you have is always better than what you get off the shelf.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

Good point, but isn't Nvidia just using a Tegra?
I'm not sure what central processing unit they are using but Tegra makes sense. I would imagine that the real grunt and parallel workload is handled by the two GPU's though.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coupe View Post

I understand that, but, as you see in my post, microprocessors aren't the issue.
I think the idea is for Tesla Motors to eventually gain hardware self-reliance in the electronics and chips that power the cars. Currently, as we all know, Tesla have electronics in their cars driven by Nvidia SoCs. I think Jim is the perfect man to ween them off those, much like he helped Apple gain hardware self-reliance with the Ax chips.
 

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Just wait and see all the "good deals" Tesla will get on CPUs once they have a successful autopilot solution
rolleyes.gif


Like Apple, if they can design their own chips, they'll save money.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by umeng2002 View Post

Just wait and see all the "good deals" Tesla will get on CPUs once they have a successful autopilot solution
rolleyes.gif


Like Apple, if they can design their own chips, they'll save money.
It is far more likely that Tesla chip is going to be a collaboration of some sort rather than develop a chip that all in house from the ground up.

The comparisons to Apple are laughable. Like rof*****.

For Apple, 60 billion out of 75 billion in revenue comes from products with arm processor in it or devices with a swift arm based chip in it. Additionally, the SoC represent a 10-20 percent of the bill of material for gross production of these products. This is incredibly different than TESLA.

Tesla has yet to crack a billion in revenue in a quarter. In terms of volume in a good quarter, Tesla only sells 10,000 vehicles. When you combine iphone sales and ipad sale, you almost get a total of 100 million units. That's a factor of 1000000% or 10,000 times the volume of Tesla. It make sense for Apple to develop a new custom SOC because of the sheer volume and cost that the SOC represents to them.

With 10,000 cars, where maybe half of the cars at best will be equipped this autodrive technology, it simply doesn't make sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollar to billions of dollars to develop a completely new SOC for this unit.

Plus this SOC represents a much smaller portion of the cost compared to phones. What this means is the overall potential cost savings from producing a SOC in house is drastically less for Tesla.

This is why companies outsource in general and is basic economics. Fixed costs and development costs are so expensive that it makes more sense to outsource. At 10,000 vehicles, economies of scale play against Tesla. It does not make financial sense for Tesla to do what Apple does. Nvidia at one point was selling just over $100 million Tegra chips in a quarter and they were still taking a loss. To break even on the tegra business, Nvidia needed sales in the $250 million dollar a quarter range. It makes no financial sense to build a custom architecture and SOC for Tesla.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tajoh111 View Post

It is far more likely that Tesla chip is going to be a collaboration of some sort rather than develop a chip that all in house from the ground up.

The comparisons to Apple are laughable. Like rof*****.

For Apple, 60 billion out of 75 billion in revenue comes from products with arm processor in it or devices with a swift arm based chip in it. Additionally, the SoC represent a 10-20 percent of the bill of material for gross production of these products. This is incredibly different than TESLA.

Tesla has yet to crack a billion in revenue in a quarter. In terms of volume in a good quarter, Tesla only sells 10,000 vehicles. When you combine iphone sales and ipad sale, you almost get a total of 100 million units. That's a factor of 1000000% or 10,000 times the volume of Tesla. It make sense for Apple to develop a new custom SOC because of the sheer volume and cost that the SOC represents to them.

With 10,000 cars, where maybe half of the cars at best will be equipped this autodrive technology, it simply doesn't make sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollar to billions of dollars to develop a completely new SOC for this unit.

Plus this SOC represents a much smaller portion of the cost compared to phones. What this means is the overall potential cost savings from producing a SOC in house is drastically less for Tesla.

This is why companies outsource in general and is basic economics. Fixed costs and development costs are so expensive that it makes more sense to outsource. At 10,000 vehicles, economies of scale play against Tesla. It does not make financial sense for Tesla to do what Apple does. Nvidia at one point was selling just over $100 million Tegra chips in a quarter and they were still taking a loss. To break even on the tegra business, Nvidia needed sales in the $250 million dollar a quarter range. It makes no financial sense to build a custom architecture and SOC for Tesla.
You're absolutely correct. However, don't discount who runs Tesla. Mr. Musk is known to demand the impossible, and require the unreasonable. There's a reason they hired Keller, and it's most definitely on the hardware side of the equation.
 

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You broke it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tajoh111 View Post

It is far more likely that Tesla chip is going to be a collaboration of some sort rather than develop a chip that all in house from the ground up.

The comparisons to Apple are laughable. Like rof*****.

For Apple, 60 billion out of 75 billion in revenue comes from products with arm processor in it or devices with a swift arm based chip in it. Additionally, the SoC represent a 10-20 percent of the bill of material for gross production of these products. This is incredibly different than TESLA.

Tesla has yet to crack a billion in revenue in a quarter. In terms of volume in a good quarter, Tesla only sells 10,000 vehicles. When you combine iphone sales and ipad sale, you almost get a total of 100 million units. That's a factor of 1000000% or 10,000 times the volume of Tesla. It make sense for Apple to develop a new custom SOC because of the sheer volume and cost that the SOC represents to them.

With 10,000 cars, where maybe half of the cars at best will be equipped this autodrive technology, it simply doesn't make sense to spend hundreds of millions of dollar to billions of dollars to develop a completely new SOC for this unit.

Plus this SOC represents a much smaller portion of the cost compared to phones. What this means is the overall potential cost savings from producing a SOC in house is drastically less for Tesla.

This is why companies outsource in general and is basic economics. Fixed costs and development costs are so expensive that it makes more sense to outsource. At 10,000 vehicles, economies of scale play against Tesla. It does not make financial sense for Tesla to do what Apple does. Nvidia at one point was selling just over $100 million Tegra chips in a quarter and they were still taking a loss. To break even on the tegra business, Nvidia needed sales in the $250 million dollar a quarter range. It makes no financial sense to build a custom architecture and SOC for Tesla.
The problem with this, is you are looking at now. While Musk looks at 5 to 10 years from now. In this specific situation, he is probably looking at what Jim can do in the next 2-5.

EDIT:

Also with the Gigafactory coming online, that should help drive down the cost of Tesla cars and push their volume as well. This move with Jim isn't about now, but the future.
 

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Electronic interference causes a 50 car pile up on the south band highway this morning...
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