Tesla's dream of creating fully-autonomous electric vehicles might be a few years away, and Samsung Electronics will contribute to making that dream come true. A new report says Samsung will manufacture the Tesla Hardware 5 (HW 5.0) chip, but Samsung will not be the only chipmaker to have this opportunity.
Ideally, Tesla's HW 5.0 chip will power fully-autonomous EVs three-to-four years from now, say industry officials cited by KED Global. And the US carmaker reportedly agreed to get Samsung on board the project.
Samsung will manufacture Tesla's HW 5.0 chips using its 4nm node. However, the Korean tech giant will not be alone. Tesla reportedly signed with TSMC to produce HW 5.0 chips last year. But officials say “splitting next-generation chip production between the two is more likely.”
Lee Jae-yong's meeting with Elon Musk marked the turn of the tide
If Tesla partnered with TSMC for the HW 5.0 chip last year, what made the carmaker team up with Samsung now? Logistically speaking, having two suppliers instead of relying on a single chipmaker is a boon. But it also turns out that Lee Jae-yong's meeting with Elon Musk in May had something to do with this outcome.
Samsung previously supplied Tesla with chips for the Model 3, Model 5, X, and Y electric vehicles. Lee Jae-yong's visit in May was meant to strengthen the partnership between the two companies, and the Samsung leader may have achieved just that. Reports say that Lee Jae-yong offered Elon Musk favorable HW 5.0 contract prices “that he could not refuse.”
Tesla aims to bring Level-5 full automation to its EVs through HW 5.0 chips within the next three-to-four years. Level-5 is the highest level of automation, wherein a vehicle can automatically perform all driving tasks under all conditions, and zero human attention or interaction is required (via Synopsys).
In May still, Samsung's R&D team at SAIT (Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology) successfully ran a “driver-free” Level-4 autonomous test. Through a new self-driving algorithm developed by SAIT, Samsung's test EV drove nearly 200km, between Suwon and Gangneung, without driver intervention.