Samsung And Tesla Sign Agreement To Codevelop And Manufacturer Autopilot Self-Driving Processors

Samsung and Tesla are joining forces with Samsung set in place to manufacture SoCs (System on Chip) for Tesla’s self-driving cars and thus developing its own Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) foundry. The agreement between Samsung and Tesla was reportedly signed on December 8th.

A representative for the industry stated, “This is a long-term project that requires about 3 years for design, production of prototype, and mass-production. Working with a leading company like Tesla will provide an opportunity to greatly increase capability of Samsung Electronics’ automotive field.”

Tesla Model III

An ASIC foundry is a factory that designs and produces semiconductors according to specifications that were requested by a customer. Tesla had been receiving their SoC’s from the Israeli company Mobileye. The partnership ended, however, when a driver who was testing Tesla’s autopilot died in an accident. Tesla has since been receiving chips from NVIDIA, however, their partnership with Samsung indicates that they are eager to design their own chips.

This is not Samsung’s first rodeo by a long stretch in the ASIC foundry business. Apple once sourced $7.8 billion USD worth of parts from Samsung. This partnership ended, however, because Apple  supposedly feared that their customers' information would be compromised somehow via the Korean chip manufacturer's technology. Apple also purchased PA Semi and partnered with TSMC, one of the largest semiconductor fabs in the world.


Samsung has also already created SoC’s for Audi. These SoC’s were purposely designed for infotainment. Samsung’s technology will likely make an appearance in 2019 Audi vehicles, a product line where NVIDIA also shares design win footprint.

Samsung is slowly becoming more invested in the automobile industry. The company recently purchased Harman, a “market leader” in connected car solutions, for $8 billion USD. The two companies expect that Harman's connected car technologies, such as infotainment, cybersecurity, over-the-air updates and telematics, will complement Samsung’s “significant expertise and experience in connectivity technologies, including 5G, UX/UI, display technology and security solutions”.

Samsung will gain access as well to Harman's audio systems, including JBL, Harman Kardon, Mark Levinson, AKG, Lexicon, Infinity, and Revel.