Tesla has barely got their latest self-driving computer known as Hardware 4 (HW4) out the door, but the company is already working on the next generation computer. According to a report out of Korea, Tesla has signed a deal with Samsung to develop 4-nanometer node chips that will be used in HW5 computers.
Starting earlier this year Tesla began rolling out HW4 in the Model S and Model X, although they did it very quietly without an official announcement. That silence has continued to this day, even with HW4 now included in the Model Y, probably because Tesla has not fully developed the software to take advantage of the new hardware, as HW4 cars are still not able to utilize Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta.
While they continue to develop the software to go along with HW4, Tesla has already started work on developing HW5. Last year we reported that Tesla had partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (TSMC) to develop 4 or 5 nanometer chips. Now it looks like Tesla will be sourcing those chips from two suppliers, TSMC and Samsung, according to a report by Korea Economic Daily, citing industry officials.
The report suggests Tesla could change its mind and switch entirely to Samsung as their sole supplier, but those same sources said “splitting next-generation chip production between the two is more likely.”
As we noted at the top of this article, not much is known about HW4, at least officially, although CEO Elon Musk said over the weekend on Twitter that it is about 3 to 5 times more capable than HW3. That is not to say that cars equipped with HW3 will not be able to achieve Full Self-Driving, just that HW4 cars will be able to perform better than HW3, just like how one human driver can be better than another. Given that HW5 is still likely three or four years away, it is not possible to say what level of improvement it will offer over HW4, especially considering we haven’t seen HW4 at its full potential yet.