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New AP Hardware?

elguapo

Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2013
1,073
1,995
Maryland
I didn’t see a great existing thread on this, so I am hoping to get traction here and some insight from those of you who really understand the computing involved with AP.

I think the FSD computer came out in 2019. Computer companies like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, etc update chips at least annually and we see significant enhancements in speed, efficiency and other capabilities.

How can Tesla claim the FSD computer will bring FSD when it’s already two years old and will be even older as time goes on? Why wouldn’t they need to update the core processor regularly? FSD is a super serious next step, and the idea of using “old” tech to get there seemed odd to me. They MUST be planning AP 3.5, 4.0, etc?

I am a big Tesla fan, so please no hate here. I just don’t understand how/why the FSD computer is somehow immune to technological advances. The answer may be “it’s not, yes they’ll update it, they never announce updates ahead of time and they’ll make it backward compatible...”
 
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dmurphy

Woof.
Dec 7, 2018
3,541
4,729
New Jersey - Morris County
I didn’t see a great existing thread on this, so I am hoping to get traction here and some insight from those of you who really understand the computing involved with AP.

I think the FSD computer came out in 2019. Computer companies like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, etc update chips at least annually and we see significant enhancements in speed, efficiency and other capabilities.

How can Tesla claim the FSD computer will bring FSD when it’s already two years old and will be even older as time goes on? Why wouldn’t they need to update the core processor regularly? FSD is a super serious next step, and the idea of using “old” tech to get there seemed odd to me. They MUST be planning AP 3.5, 4.0, etc?

I am a big Tesla fan, so please no hate here. I just don’t understand how/why the FSD computer is somehow immune to technological advances. The answer may be “it’s not, yes they’ll update it, they never announce updates ahead of time and they’ll make it backward compatible...”

There’ll be an FSD computer update at some point, yes. But many of the “yearly updates” you get from Intel et al are actually fairly small changes.

At work, the most powerful, fastest processor my customers buy was released in 2017. That means it was years old before it hit the market. And yet, today, it’s still the baddest beast on the block.

Have no fear; the FSD chip Tesla developed has PLENTY of horsepower for the task at hand. It’s not a general purpose CPU, so it’s got special instructions to accelerate what they’re doing.
Plenty, plenty of horsepower there.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,044
4,667
MA, NH
There’ll be an FSD computer update at some point, yes. But many of the “yearly updates” you get from Intel et al are actually fairly small changes.

At work, the most powerful, fastest processor my customers buy was released in 2017. That means it was years old before it hit the market. And yet, today, it’s still the baddest beast on the block.

Have no fear; the FSD chip Tesla developed has PLENTY of horsepower for the task at hand. It’s not a general purpose CPU, so it’s got special instructions to accelerate what they’re doing.
Plenty, plenty of horsepower there.

Right. Companies like Intel usually design a family of chips or architecture every few years. And they bin them (cherry pick based on speed) and scale them down to make them go faster. As time goes on yields get better.

The FSD Computer is fairly specialized and looked quite far ahead of what is feeding it or will feed it in the future.

A lot of work in chips is in reducing power consumption as well. And power is important to the FSD computer. You might see a power reduced version before we see a faster one. Which might get silently replaced.

I think it will be a good few years before it's maxed out. Not even sure if they are even fully ported over to native 3.0 yet.
 
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Krash

Data Technician
Apr 18, 2017
1,873
2,059
Intermountain US
It may worth thinking about full self driving (FSD) in components. There are input mechanisms like cameras and a radar. And there are output mechanisms like the servo steering. All have been updated since there inception. Then there is the computer. It has had four major revisions, not including the original Mobileye. The first was designed by nVidia. The second was simply a redundant version. The third was designed in house by someone who left nVidia. And the fourth is an update of the third on a smaller fabrication process, either for faster performance, heat reduction or both. Rumor is that 10,000 units of the fourth are already sampling.

Then there is the software which has had more than hundreds of updates. Only a fraction of which get tested on end users.

But I think your question was mostly about whether the hardware is currently good enough and will “full self drive” which to some interpret as it reaches SAE level 5 autonomy or sleep in the back possible in any weather. Frankly FSD is a marketing term and Tesla can deem the car Full Self Driving any time or wants. Will I be sleeping in the back as the car drives in snowstorms? Probably not in the next five years and definitely not with the current hardware. Will Tesla update my hardware a couple more times? Maybe. Will I want to update it myself after Tesla says it is done? Probably. Will that be more cost effective than buying a newer car in ten years? Maybe not.
 
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dmurphy

Woof.
Dec 7, 2018
3,541
4,729
New Jersey - Morris County
Right. Companies like Intel usually design a family of chips or architecture every few years. And they bin them (cherry pick based on speed) and scale them down to make them go faster. As time goes on yields get better.

It’s funny you mention them ... Intel has been seriously sucking hind teat at scaling down their chips lately. 10nm has been the bane of their existence; and Apple’s shipping 5nm general purpose CPUs in mass volume.

Also interesting that it looks like the new Model S/X refresh are getting a Ryzen CPU. Like you said, lots of different configurations in that CPU family, at all sorts of power consumption. Perfect example - the Ryzen in the MCU will be very different than the 64-core Rome beasties I’m putting in servers. Still related though - similar cores, different packaging.
 

jboy210

Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
5,097
3,168
Northern California
I didn’t see a great existing thread on this, so I am hoping to get traction here and some insight from those of you who really understand the computing involved with AP.

I think the FSD computer came out in 2019. Computer companies like Apple, Intel, Qualcomm, etc update chips at least annually and we see significant enhancements in speed, efficiency and other capabilities.

How can Tesla claim the FSD computer will bring FSD when it’s already two years old and will be even older as time goes on? Why wouldn’t they need to update the core processor regularly? FSD is a super serious next step, and the idea of using “old” tech to get there seemed odd to me. They MUST be planning AP 3.5, 4.0, etc?

I am a big Tesla fan, so please no hate here. I just don’t understand how/why the FSD computer is somehow immune to technological advances. The answer may be “it’s not, yes they’ll update it, they never announce updates ahead of time and they’ll make it backward compatible...”
Teslas will not be using the same chip in newer AP systems. The Tesla AP processor is a Tesla custom design that Samsung fabricated for them. It is tuned to the requirements of FSD model. Most importantly to your question the processor design was based on a 14 nm process, but was optioned to be updated to a 5 nm processor in 2022. This will provide much more power in the similar size packaged with less power consumption and run more complex models. Also, the AP system is redundant with primary and backup processors running copies of the model. So if one processor fails it can failover to the backup. See New AP processor.
 
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elguapo

Supporting Member
Apr 24, 2013
1,073
1,995
Maryland
Thanks for all of the answers, I appreciate it. Even though I had a 2012 S and have a 2016X (March), I feel like I’ve missed out on a bunch of the tech, so I am especially sensitive to AP updates.

Apple’s chips seem to show considerable improvements year to year, or every two years, so Intel may not be a good comparison.

I guess we may know in a year or so!
 

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