AMD And Tesla Reportedly Developing AI Chips For Autonomous EVs

Tesla is one of the leading automakers working towards a complete self-driving solution where it will one day be possible to hop in your car, plug in a destination, and let the vehicle do all of the work. That type of end-goal requires a lot of advanced sensors and computing power. To help with the latter, Tesla has tapped Advanced Micro Devices to design purpose-built processors to its specifications.

AMD is a fabless operation and does not actually produce processors—that task falls on GlobalFroundries, which has a wafer supply agreement with AMD that runs through 2020. However, AMD designs its chips and is said to have shipped samples to Tesla of its first implementation of a processor infused with artificial intelligence technology designed for autonomous vehicles.

Tesla Model S

News of AMD and Tesla working together seems to have excited investors. After reports emerged of the two collaborating on self-driving technology, AMD's share price shot up nearly 5 percent and continued its ascension in after hours trading. Interestingly enough, Tesla's share price is down a few bucks today.

In any event, this is a potentially good thing for both companies. AMD could use the business, and purpose-built silicon could help Tesla achieve its goal of delivering a complete autonomous driving experience. Previously when someone asked Tesla founder Elon Musk on Twitter how long it would be until you could "get in your car, fall asleep, and wake up at your destination," he indicated it would be two years.

Tesla is also working with NVIDIA, a rival of AMD's in the graphics market. NVIDIA provides chips for Tesla's Autopilot self-driving system. It is not clear if Tesla is looking to replace NVIDIA with AMD, or use technology from both companies. The former is the more likely scenario, as AMD is providing chips customized to Tesla's exact specifications and needs.

Meanwhile, Intel recently announced it was working Waymo in a similar fashion to make self-driving cars safer and more capable.