Tesla reshuffles its Autopilot self-driving team

Swift programming language creator Chris Lattner is out, Andrej Karpathy is in.

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Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Earlier this year Tesla announced engineer Chris Lattner would leave Apple and lead its Autopilot engineering team, but just five months later he is departing. Lattner, the designer of Apple's Swift programming language, tweeted "Turns out that Tesla isn't a good fit for me after all," while Tesla announced it has hired Andrej Karpathy, "one of the world's leading experts in computer vision and deep learning." He will become the company's Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, reporting directly to CEO Elon Musk, who he may know well from his previous job as a research scientist at the Musk-backed OpenAI.

Tesla spokesperson:

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. He was most recently a Research Scientist at OpenAI.

Andrej completed his computer vision PhD at Stanford University, where he demonstrated the ability to derive complex descriptions of images using a deep neural net. For example, identifying not simply that there is a cat in a given picture, but that it is an orange, spotted cat, riding on a skateboard with red wheels on brown hardwood flooring (http://cs.stanford.edu/people/karpathy/main.pdf). He also created and taught "Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition," the first and still leading deep learning course at Stanford.

Andrej will work closely with Jim Keller, who now has overall responsibility for Autopilot hardware and software

Re: Chris Lattner

Chris just wasn't the right fit for Tesla, and we've decided to make a change. We wish him the best.

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