Tesla is said to have co-signed a multi-billion dollar deal Samsung to supply cameras for its self-propelled systems.
The agreement with Samsung’s Electro-Mechanics division is believed to be worth in the region of $3.2 billion to $4 billion. It was first reported by the Korea Economic Daily – a newspaper that broke the news about previous partnerships between the two – and will make Samsung the largest supplier of camera modules to Tesla.
Although neither Samsung nor Tesla have commented on the deal, it is believed that the camera modules will be used across the lineup and in both the Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y and the Model 3, Model S, Model X and Model Y to be installed Cybertruck when that finally arrives and also the forthcoming semi class 8 truck.
Unlike many automakers, which use radar and lidar to provide assisted driving features, Tesla has relied on cameras to provide imagery for its neural networks. The current version of Autopilot has eight cameras that are said to have a resolution of around 1.2 million pixels.
The new deal concerns Samsung’s version 4.0 camera modules with 5 million pixels. It is claimed that these images are five times clearer than Samsung’s previous 3.0 modules and would represent a significant increase in quality over those currently used by Tesla.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a big proponent of camera-based technology. In February he tweeted“Lidar is an alluring local maximum. However, the road system was designed to work with biological neural networks and eyes, so a general solution for autonomous driving necessarily requires silicon neural networks and cameras. Real-world AI.”
And in March Radar sensors have been removed on the Model S and Model X for the North American market, with the company confirming this on its website continue the transition on Tesla Vision, its “camera-based autopilot system”.
This latest investment seems to confirm Tesla’s intention to provide autonomous driving with an exclusively camera-based setup, with mass production for the new 4.0 camera modules planned for July.
It marks another step in the growing relationship between Tesla and Samsung. It was reported last year that the Korean company would supply the automaker’s next-generation self-driving chip. A separate camera contract to supply a reversing camera for the Cybertruck is said to have been finalized in July 2021.