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Jim Keller, Tesla’s VP for Autopilot Hardware, has left the company for an engineering position at Intel.
“[Tuesday] is Jim Keller’s last day at Tesla, where he has overseen low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment. Prior to joining Tesla, Jim’s core passion was microprocessor engineering and he’s now joining a company where he’ll be able to once again focus on this exclusively. We appreciate his contributions to Tesla and wish him the best,” according to a statement from Tesla provided to Bloomberg.
Keller is a highly-respected engineer, having worked for Advanced Micro Devices and Apple prior to joining Tesla in 2016. Among his responsibilities was leading Tesla’s efforts to build its own chip designed specifically for artificial intelligence applications.
Keller’s departure comes at a time federal investigators are looking into the use of Tesla’s Autopilot system during a fatal crash.
While it’s not known what Keller’s focus at Intel will be, it’s worth noting that the chipmaker has its own ambitions to power self-driving cars. As part of that effort, Intel paid $15.3 billion last year for Mobileye, a supplier of cameras for self-driving vehicles.
Tesla’s Autopilot hardware efforts will now be led by Pete Bannon, who worked with Keller at both Tesla and Apple. Autopilot software will be led by Andrej Karpathy, a computer vision and deep learning expert who was previously hired from OpenAI.
Tesla has experienced a wave of departures that includes Corporate Treasurer and Vice President of Finance Susan Repo, Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz, President of Global Sales and Service Jon McNeill, Vice President of Business Diarmuid O’Connell, Director of Battery Technology Kurt Kelty, and Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler.