Tesla on Tuesday confirmed that Chris Lattner, head of its autopilot software division, had left the company less than six months after joining from Apple. His responsibilities have been divided between Jim Keller, who was already the head of the Autopilot’s hardware team, and a well known figure from the artificial intelligence industry.
The electric vehicle manufacturer has hired leading AI expert Andrej Karpathy as the company’s new director of AI and Autopilot. Karpathy had previously been a researcher at OpenAI, a nonprofit AI initiative started by Musk in 2015. Before joining OpenAI, Karpathy worked at Google parent company Alphabet, where he was a member of their DeepMind AI research group.
“Andrej Karpathy, one of the world’s leading experts in computer vision and deep learning, is joining Tesla as Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, reporting directly to Elon Musk. Andrej has worked to give computers vision through his work on ImageNet, as well as imagination through the development of generative models, and the ability to navigate the internet with reinforcement learning,” Tesla said in a statement released to the media.
Jim Keller replaces Lattner as head of Autopilot hardware and software, a Tesla spokeswoman told CNBC. Karpathy will report directly to Musk and will work closely with Keller, the Tesla spokeswoman wrote.
Chris Lattner also reacted to the news on his own Twitter account.
“Turns out that Tesla isn't a good fit for me after all. I'm interested to hear about interesting roles for a seasoned engineering leader!”
Lattner joined Tesla in January as the vice president of Autopilot Software. He led California-based company’s development of the Swift programming language.
Earlier this week, more details emerged about the fatal Tesla Autopilot crash in May 2016. The National Transportation Safety Board published about 500 pages of the data it had collected about the crash, including technical reports, transcripts, and images.
According to the docket, the Autopilot-engaged Tesla did what it was supposed to, issuing multiple warnings to Brown as he kept his hands off the steering wheel for an extended period of time.
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