Volkswagen Will Design Its Own Computers


Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess revealed that VW will design its own computers for self-driving cars, according to Reuters, which is itself reporting second-hand from an interview Diess gave to the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

“To achieve optimal performance in light of the high demands that exist for cars, software and hardware have to come out of one hand,” is the precise quote. I’m not sure what the original German was, but “out of one hand,” sounds almost proverbial.

Building company-specific chips seemed crazy to me when Tesla did it. But folks who know more about semiconductors than I do said, even at the time, that with modern fab-less design and outsourced manufacturing, it could work. And it appears to be working out for Tesla.

Automotive manufacturers like VW traditionally have had a lot of expertise in assembling components from Tier 1 suppliers, and a lot less expertise in chip design. I can’t access the original newspaper interview, so I’m not sure to what extent Diess is talking about VW working with automotive suppliers to create specialized computers, and to what extent VW just plans to bring everything about chip design in-house.

We’ll learn more over time, I’m sure.

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