Elon Musk (C), the co-founder of luxury all-electric US car maker Tesla, speaks at the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong on January 26, 2016. Plunging oil prices will force electric car makers to design futuristic vehicles to entice buyers if the industry is to ride out current challenges, Musk said on January 26. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez / AFP / PHILIPPE LOPEZ (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Tesla is building its own custom AI chips, CEO Elon Musk acknowledged on Thursday night according to reports from CNBC and the Register.
“Jim is developing specialized AI hardware that we think will be the best in the world,” Musk said at a Tesla-organized party.
“Jim” is Jim Keller, a well-known chip engineer that Tesla recruited last year to lead Tesla’s Autopilot hardware efforts. Keller has held key positions at both AMD and Apple.
The stakes for Tesla are high. The first version of Tesla’s Autopilot were based on chips supplied by Mobileye, a leading supplier of autonomous car technology that is now owned by Intel. But the two companies had a bitter falling out last year, and Tesla built a new version of Autopilot without Mobileye’s help. This new version of Autopilot relied on chips from Nvidia.
But Tesla is apparently looking to reduce its reliance on Nvidia—or any other third-party supplier—for its autonomous …