Tesla has spent years in search of achieving full autonomous driving; in fact, Elon Musk himself has already mentioned that one of his greatest ambitions is to launch a car without a steering wheel or controls of any kind, that is capable of driving completely by itself. The successive updates of the so-called FSD (Full Self-Driving) system have not yet reached the ideal maturity point, although it could be one step closer.
According to new reports published in media such as Taiwan Economic Daily or China's IT House, Tesla would allegedly have reached an agreement with the company TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited) to acquire a huge number of 4 nm and 5 nm microchips intended to be installed in the next generation of the FSD system.
These two specialized Taiwanese websites ensure that Tesla would have become one of TSMC's largest customers due to the huge order already placed. In parallel, this has been the first agreement that the Taiwanese firm closes with a large-scale and mass-produced automobile company. However, neither company has issued an official statement about this collaboration yet, which will apparently begin in 2023. From then on, all indications point to Tesla replacing Samsung with TSMC as its official microchips supplier.
Currently, Tesla's electric models are already quite advanced in terms of driver support systems; however, full autonomous driving is still far from being a reality. As of today it mounts the so-called Hardware 3 in its electric cars, which will be replaced by Hardware 4 with TSMC microchips as soon as they are ready, though still without a specific arrival date.
The specific details, features and specifications that the Hardware 4 will have at the moment are scarce. A few months ago Elon Musk raised the idea that this would be publicly released together with the long expected Tesla Cybertruck, which hopes to go a step further in terms of range capacity with respect to current models. The only thing that is anticipated in the reports published by the Asian media is that this new chip would triple the power of the current model.
The dates would fit perfectly, since Tesla's electric pick-up truck will not actually start mass production until the very end of next year, 2023. It is logical to think that Tesla has signed the acquisition of a large number of microchip units a year before it begins mass production; during this period the brand should have enough time to complete Hardware 4 and introduce the purchased components from TSMC.
According to Taiwan Economic Daily, TSMC will produce 4nm or 5nm chip for Tesla’s FSD starting in 2023. If confirmed, Tesla would be among TSMC’s one of the top clients and 1st EV client ever. #tsmc #tesla #samsung pic.twitter.com/cp2rmAxlyZ— Licarco (@licarcommunity) November 21, 2022
However, and despite these reports being trustworthy, it is expected that Tesla and TSMC should communicate such a big move rather soon, where official data is specified and by the way stating clearly what the capabilities of the new microchip will be. As a side note, last year TSMC manufactured more than half of all the world's semiconductor chips.
In conclusion, working together with TSMC might be the key for Tesla to unlock the full potential of its FSD system, but it's probably still a few years away for us to be able to see it 100% in action.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.