Tesla spending over R17.8 billion on Dojo supercomputer

Tesla Inc. is sparing no expense to become a player in supercomputing, with Elon Musk saying the electric carmaker plans to invest more than $1 billion (R17.86 billion) on its so-called Project Dojo by the end of 2024.

Chief executive officer Musk told investors Wednesday the in-house supercomputer is being designed to handle massive amounts of data, including video from Tesla cars, needed to create autonomous driving software.

“We will be spending well over $1 billion on Dojo” over the next year, he said during a conference call with analysts.

The disclosure of that big-ticket expenditure appeared to spook investors, contributing to more than a 4% postmarket slide in Tesla’s share price.

Zachary Kirkhorn, Tesla’s chief financial officer, was quick to clarify on the call the investment is split between R&D and capital expenditures — and is in line with a previously-stated three-year expense outlook.

Musk said Tesla has a “staggering amount” of video at its disposal, thanks to its customers’ use of camera-based driver assistance software called Autopilot and a related feature known as “Full Self Driving Beta” that has racked up more than 300 million miles of data.

The company said in its latest earnings release that it had begun production of its “Dojo training computer.”

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Tesla spending over R17.8 billion on Dojo supercomputer