Tesla recently generated a lot of attention (not all of it good) when it rolled out its autopilot technology to its fleet of Model S vehicles. As the name suggests, Tesla’s autopilot software, anchored by a complex and extensive system or radars, cameras, and sensors, helps drivers parallel park, switch lanes, and more importantly, avoid collisions.

Google, meanwhile, has also been working on autonomous vehicle technology over the past few years. Now comes word that Google, in an effort to beef up its own team of automotive engineers, managed to poach an influential Tesla engineer who helped spearhead the company’s autopilot software for the Model S.

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Relayed by Digital Trends, Google last month hired Robert Rose, a senior Tesla engineer who helped oversee the development and release of Tesla’s autopilot software. According to Rose’s LinkedIn profile, Rose now works at Google Robotics, and lest you think he’s working on robotic dogs, it’s worth noting that many of Google’s self-driving car engineers reportedly refer to themselves as “robotics software engineers.”

The report adds:

While the Mountain View company has said in the past it has no intention of creating a self-driving car, its project as it stands leans toward the creation of a technology platform that could then be installed in vehicles made by established car makers.

Rose, who was also instrumental in development work for Musk’s other venture, SpaceX, may well have been the target of John Krafcik, who joined Google in September to become the self-driving car project’s very first chief executive.

An interesting development, to be sure, in part because we don’t often see Google poaching away top automotive talent, a game Apple has been aggressively playing for quite a few months now.

Interestingly enough, some tweets that Tesla CEO Elon Musk published a few weeks ago may point to the importance of Rose to Tesla’s autopilot software efforts.

 

 

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