Musk says Tesla's new A.I. chip is probably coming within six months

  • Tesla wouldn't provide details on how it will perform the hardware upgrades.
  • Software updates could arrive around the same time as the new hardware, in four to six months.
Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla Motors.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the next generation of hardware for autonomous driving will probably be available by early next year.

On last week's earnings call, Musk touted the strengths of the coming Autopilot hardware, which will include an artificial intelligence processor developed by Tesla. But he didn't say when the technology, which the company started working on about three years ago, would be available to car owners.

In a tweet on Wednesday, one day after announcing his intention to take his company private, Musk indicated that customers who have committed to paying extra for Tesla's "full self-driving" capability will receive the new hardware free of charge. Tesla declined to say how it will perform the hardware upgrades.

In a subsequent tweet, Musk said Tesla will deliver the first software update just for those who have bought the "full self-driving" option around the same time that the hardware becomes available, in four to six months.

Some other automakers are relying on chips from semiconductor companies like Intel and Nvidia, making the Tesla project unusual in the industry.

Musk has been particularly vocal on Twitter this week, spending much of Tuesday discussing his plan to take Tesla private and even saying that he'd secured the necessary financing. On Wednesday the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had begun an investigation following Musk's social media disclosure.