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Cruise is developing its own chips for autonomous vehicles (AVs) to be deployed by 2025, according to reporting from Reuters. The company hopes to bring down the cost of developing its autonomous robotaxis and scale up volume by developing in-house instead of continuing to work with its current chip provider NVIDIA.
Carl Jenkins, Cruise’s head of hardware, told Reuters that the company had difficulty negotiating with manufacturers for lower chip prices, as Cruise never needed a large volume of chips. While developing the chips can be expensive, the company hopes to make that money back by scaling the production of AVs that use multiple chips.
Carl Jenkins, Cruise’s head of hardware, told Reuters that the company has developed four chips so far. The first is a computing chip, essentially the main brain of the car called Horta. Next, it developed a chip to process sensor data, called Dune, then a chip for the radar on the car. The company plans to announce the final chip at a later date.
Cruise plans to use the chips in its Origin vehicle, an AV specifically designed for autonomous taxi rides with no pedal or steering wheel. The vehicle will be all-electric with zero-emissions, and was designed from the ground up to operate without a human driver.
Other autonomous vehicle companies have made similar moves to try to reduce the costs of production. For example, Waymo began manufacturing its own LiDARs in early 2017 to dramatically reduce the costs of its AV business. At the time, Waymo said it could lower the unit price from $75,000 for an off-the-shelf LiDAR to just $7,500 for its own custom unit.
Cruise announced earlier this week that it would be expanding its operations to Phoenix and Austin. The company plans to begin operations within 90 days and before the end of the year, according to co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt.
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