A new teardown of the Tesla Model 3 by Nikkei Business Publications just sent a shiver through the spine of legacy automakers. Based on the findings of the teardown, it is becoming evident that the company’s tech is on an entirely different level compared to the electronics used by veteran automakers today, and a lot of it has to do with Tesla’s custom Full Self-Driving computer.
Following a thorough analysis of the Model 3, an engineer who works at a major Japanese automaker noted there was just no way for other carmakers to match Tesla’s level of tech. “We cannot do it,” the engineer admitted.
Tesla’s Full Self-Driving computer, also known as Hardware 3, features a custom design from the electric car maker that makes the unit optimized for autonomous driving applications. At the core of the FSD computer are two 260 sq mm AI chips, which were developed by Tesla with the help of legendary chip designer and Apple alumni Pete Bannon.
Nikkei notes that Tesla’s current platform, which features a powerful computer at the center of the vehicle, will likely be crucial to the next generation of cars. Tomorrow’s vehicles will require enough computing power to handle large amounts of data, especially with the advent of full self-driving cars.
Considering that industry insiders expect connected cars to take hold around 2025, and considering that Tesla has started deploying HW3 to its vehicle lineup in 2019, the Silicon Valley-based electric car maker may very well have beaten its more experienced competitors by a whole six years. And that’s only on the hardware front. Tesla’s real-world data lead will likely be a difference-maker as well.
Ultimately, Nikkei noted that its Model 3 teardown showed one thing: Tesla’s undeniable lead in tech is partly due to the company not being tied down to traditional automotive supply chains. The publication noted that if traditional automakers adopt a similar strategy as Tesla today, they would have to drastically cut the number of electronic control units that they use in their vehicles. This would result in massive blows to supply chains that vehicle-makers rely on.
Unlike veteran car companies, Nikkei found that most of Tesla’s components on its vehicles bear the logo of the company, not a supplier. This shows that the company is not shackled to multiple other firms, making the company free to pursue the best technologies available. This also allows Tesla to have unprecedented control over its cars and how they function. This independence, as it turns out, is something that could give the company an edge in the automotive market.
And for some veterans, this is starting to become a very frightening thought.