Tesla appears to have acknowledged the development of its own custom AI chip for its self-driving technology.

According to an attendee’s report from the event, as reported by the Register, the admission was made in a fireside chat alongside Tesla luminaries, academic, and industry researchers at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) last Thursday, where Musk confirmed Tesla’s work on an AI chip in collaboration with AMD.

Also attending the meeting was Jim Keller, Tesla’s vice president of hardware and former lead architect of AMD’s K8 architecture, a key hire also formerly responsible for Apple’s A4 and A5 processors before joining Tesla in 2015.

Per the aforementioned attendee, Musk said “I wanted to make it clear that Tesla is serious about AI, both on the software and hardware fronts. We are developing custom AI hardware chips. Jim [Keller] is developing specialized AI hardware that we think will be the best in the world.” No other details were provided.

Before joining forces with AMD, Tesla used Mobileye, an autonomous car technology developer, to create its first chips for Tesla Autopilot. After clashing due to a fatal Florida accident involving a Tesla owner using Mobileye’s semi-autonomous mode, both brands split, inviting Tesla to produce the chip on its own. Its current version uses nVidia Drive PX platform, but the company is slowly inching its way towards concentrating all production in-house with around 50 employees currently devoted to the project.

For that, Tesla has aggressively recruited, pouching talent from other organizations, such as AMD veterans with expertise in hardware engineering, system circuit design, and prolific AI researchers such as Andrej Karpathy, former head of Alphabet’s DeepMind AI research group, an organization that studies ethical issues and the economic impact of automation caused by AI.

All in all, it is an electric arms race for automakers and suppliers to develop self-driving technology, with Waymo, Ford, GM, Apple, Lyft and other contenders developing their own chips, branded hardware, and other technologies for fully automated driving.

No word yet on when Tesla sees the custom AI installed in its vehicles.

The Register