George Hotz of Comma.AI thinks Tesla should sell its self-driving chip

Comm.AI CEO George Hotz believes that Tesla should sell its self-driving computer chip to step-up competition for Nvidia.

Hotz founded Comma.AI to further develop self-driving technology, and offers level 2 driver-assist features. The company depends on computers made by chipmaker giant Nvidia to develop its self-driving technology.

Tesla had previously also depended on Nvidia to develop its technology, but recently developed its own self-driving chip called “Full Self-Driving chip” also known as the company’s Hardware 3.0 (HW 3.0) self-driving computer. Tesla hired a team of professional chip designers, including Jim Keller, to design the chip.

The EV maker says the self-driving chip has a factor of 21 improvement in frame-per-second processing compared to its previous Autopilot hardware powered by Nvidia hardware.

In addition to its newly developed self-driving chip, Tesla is also working on developing a supercomputer, nicknamed ‘Dojo’. The supercomputer is designed to train Tesla’s neural nets for self-driving.

In an interview with Lex Fridman, Hotz emphatically stated that Tesla should sell its self-driving computer chips to beef up competition for Nvidia. He said that Nvidia currently enjoys monopoly of self-driving technology.

“You basically have two options right now to train. Your options are Nvidia or Google – and Google is not even an option since their TPUs are only accessible through Google Cloud. Hotz said. “Google has absolutely horrendous terms of service restrictions. They may have changed it, but it is used to explicitly say that you are allowed to use Google Cloud ML for training autonomous vehicles or doing anything that competes with Google without their prior permission.”

Hotz said he used to be a fan of Nvidia but argues that the company has changed a lot over the years, especially as they have grown financially. In about 4 years, Nvidia’s stock rose to $500 per share from $30. As a result of financial success, Hotz argues that the chipmaker uses its monopoly advantage to over-charge for their high-end chip.

“Somebody has got to take Nvidia down,” Hotz said. “They [Tesla] should sell that chip and even their accelerator that is in all the cars. Sell it! Why not? If you sell the chip, here’s what you get: you make money off the chip. It doesn’t take anything away from your chip and the world is going to build an ecosystem of tooling around you.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has mentioned that Tesla has plans to offer machine-learning training with its new “Dojo”, as a web service.

Tesla first announced in 2019 that it had developed the most powerful self-driving computer chip. The company claimed the chip was superior to that of Nvidia which it had previously used for its Autopilot mode.


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