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Electronics in the car

Is Tesla six years ahead?

20. Februar 2020, 11:29 Uhr   |  Heinz Arnold

Is Tesla six years ahead?
© Tesla

Tesla's Model 3 has been analyzed by Nikkei Business Publications. According to the results, Tesla is years ahead of the established companies in the electronics sector.

Although Tesla builds significantly fewer cars than the established manufacturers, the company is years ahead in electronics.


This is the result of an analysis ordered by Nikkei Business Publications, which examined Tesla's Model 3. The central control unit ("Hardware 3") in particular attracted the attention of the analysts. It is also installed in all new cars of the Model S and Model X series. According to Nikkei Business Publications, the units contain two customer-specific AI chips, each 260 mm² in size, which Tesla has developed itself, including the associated software. The unit controls both the cars' self-drive functions and the infotainment system. According to the experts, this design would not generally become generally accepted until 2025, so Tesla would have a six-year lead at this level.

Tesla had already developed an autopilot in 2014, then called "Hardware 1". The driver assistance system could make the car follow other cars on motorways and keep in lane. Since then, Tesla had continuously developed the hardware further. According to Elon Musk, it already contained all the functions needed to allow the car to drive not only at level 2 but fully autonomously.  

The established manufacturers could also develop such central systems. But currently, most manufacturers' cars contain many decentralized ECUs instead of fewer or only one central unit. Replacing them in the short term would upset the supply chain and most incumbent manufacturers would be reluctant to do so. Newcomers to the market, on the other hand, would be free to acquire the best available technology.

Tesla would do this: Many components in the car analysed would not bear the name of a supplier, but the Tesla logo. The company would therefore have very strict control over the development of key technologies in the car.

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