Tesla has lost another key executive: Jim Keller, the chip-design superstar who was in charge of developing the electric vehicle company's in-house artificial intelligence processor.
For Tesla, losing Keller to Intel (or wherever) is no small thing.
First, this marks the second time in less than a year that Tesla has seen its Autopilot chief leave for another company. Keller, Tesla's vice president of Autopilot and low-voltage hardware, will be succeeded by Pete Bannon, a Tesla executive who previously oversaw chip development at Apple Inc, a Tesla spokeswoman said via email on Thursday.
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Tesla has been defending its Autopilot system after a fatal crash of its Model X on a California highway last month.
Keller will join Intel Corp, the Wall Street Journal detailed, referring to sources. "We appreciate his contributions to Tesla and wish him the best", a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement.
Not long ago, Tesla pulled back as a formal gathering to the National Transportation Safety Board's test into a lethal March 23 crash in California in which the semi-independent "Autopilot" driving framework was being used before the board denied its status. Meanwhile, Tesla Director of AI and Autopilot Vision will have "overall responsibility" for Autopilot software, Tesla said. Despite these changes, Tesla reiterated its commitment to building its own AI chip, with a spokesperson commenting, "Tesla is deeply committed to developing the most advanced silicon in the world and we plan to dramatically increase our investment in that area while building on the world-class leadership team we have in place".