Tesla has always been rather aggressive about poaching talented engineers from Apple. This past January, though, Tesla kicked things up a notch when it hired Chris Lattner to head up the company’s Autopilot Software division. Though not a household name, Lattner was a senior Apple engineer who helped spearhead the development of Swift in addition to overseeing Apple’s Xcode team. Lattner’s departure at the time was viewed as a significant loss for Apple and a huge boon for Tesla.
Not six months later, Lattner’s time at Tesla has come to an end for rather murky reasons. In a tweet published yesterday evening, Lattner relayed that Tesla wasn’t a good fit for him while adding that he’s now open to exploring engineering positions at other companies.
With Lattner now out the door, Tesla has brought on deep learning expert Andrej Karpathy to leave the company’s Autopilot efforts, as initially reported by TechCrunch.
Tesla has hired deep learning and computer vision expert Andrej Karpathy in a key Autopilot role. Karpathy most recently held a role as a researcher at OpenAI, the artificial intelligence nonprofit backed by Elon Musk. He has an extensive background in AI-related fields, having completed a PhD at Stanford University in computer vision.
Karpathy also created one of the original, and most respected, deep learning courses taught at Stanford, and his dissertation work focused on creating a system by which a neural network could identify multiple discrete and specific items within an image, label them using natural language and report to a user.
Notably, Karpathy’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he also spent nearly a year as an intern working on Deep Learning projects for DeepMind, the UK-based artificial intelligence company that Google ultimately acquired in 2014.