Tesla's Autopilot Chief Transitions From Company After 6 Months Of Service
10 months ago

On the heels of crash data being revealed in a fatal accident with the Tesla Autopilot program, the car manufacturer has announced changes in their leadership. Chris Lattner has left his position as head of software, and responsibility will be split among two other people.

Lattner’s stint with Tesla lasted six months before leaving his position. He was the senior director of Apple’s developer tools department for over five years prior to getting the gig he just vacated. Lattner posted in a tweet back on Tuesday night that Tesla wasn’t “a good fit,” and that he is looking forward to future opportunities.

Tesla gave this statement to Electrek following Lattner leaving the company: “Chris just wasn’t the right fit for Tesla, and we’ve decided to make a change. We wish him the best.”

Lattner’s most notable accomplishment was creating the Swift programming language. This was used mostly with Apple and Linux operating systems. Apple’s operating system and its software was mostly written with Objective-C in the past, but Swift has overtaken it. That's currently the more common option to build iOS programs and apps for its devices.

Tesla has continued to push the advancement of Autopilot and they’ve moved higher-end roles like this before -- even with the Autopilot software. Jim Keller, who’s already chief of Autopilot hardware, will be sharing duties with a new hire, Andrej Karpathy.

TechCrunch reported that Karpathy was promoted from his researching position at OpenAI and will oversee Tesla’s Autopilot software. OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence firm operated by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The company promotes the movement of “friendly AI,” focusing on how it should be able to benefit humanity.

Karpathy’s advantage in working with the Autopilot software is his involvement with deep learning software. He was an intern with Google’s DeepMind, which was acquired by the search engine juggernaut back in 2014. He will be working directly with Keller and Musk at his new position.

The new hire clarified what he would be focusing on in a Reddit post, answering one user that was unsure about Tesla’s involvement in artificial intelligence software. He explained how he would be focusing more on “techniques” used from a Javascript program he wrote back as a student at Stanford called ConvNet, sharing, "At least on the short-medium term, the focus will be much more applied than what I've done at OpenAI, and will use techniques more along the lines of ConvNets trained with supervised learning, at scale, and deployed on an embedded system. But on a longer term I certainly hope to remain in the research world to some extent!”

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