Tesla has been mired in a plethora of controversies recently. The company’s reputation is hanging on by a thread, from lawsuits to misconduct allegations. To add to all this, Tesla’s high-profile Autopilot executive Andrej Karpathy has announced he is leaving the company.
Karpathy played a big role in developing Tesla’s popular artificial intelligence and driver assistant technology. However, the reason behind his departure is unknown, as he was on a four-month leave before the announcement.
He isn’t the first Tesla employee to quit after taking a break. In 2018, the former engineering head Doug Field joined Apple after taking time off from the company.
Karpathy announces his departure.
The ex-Tesla employee took to Twitter to break the news. He wrote that in his five years at Tesla, he’s helped the company towards its goals. Karpathy hoped that the team would continue its momentum after his departure.
He added that he has no plans on what he wants to do next, but he could spend his time revisiting his passions in the field of AI, education, and open source. Sources also suggest that he is considering venture investing.
The departure of the senior director of AI came after Tesla announced it was shutting down its headquarters in San Mateo, California, where the company was actively working towards the Autopilot driver assistant technology.
The closing of the offices would lead to 200 people without jobs. Karpathy worked at the company’s Palo Alto office and supervised the computer vision team of Tesla Autopilot.
Development during Karpathy’s tenure
Tesla’s driver assistant technology reached grand milestones during Karpathy’s time at the company. The company is yet to determine who will take his seat. It is possible that there will be an internal promotion to fill his position.
Professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Raj Rajkumar, remarked that it would be tough to get someone with the same experience and expertise as Andrej.
Karpathy’s main role at the company was to build the Autopilot advanced driver assistance system, which was linked to his previous dissertation work. In this, he focused on creating a system in which neural networks could identify multiple items within an image, label them and report them to a user.
Although Tesla’s heavily focused on its Autopilot technology, it is under scrutiny by authorities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a probe into several accidents involving Tesla vehicles working in ‘Autopilot’ mode.