Tesla's head of Autopilot is leaving company

Lloyd Doyle
April 26, 2018

A Tesla charging station is seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. September 28, 2017.

Reports have emerged that Jim Keller, Tesla's VP for Autopilot Hardware, is leaving the electric vehicle maker and energy company for a job focused on microprocessor engineering at Intel.

Tesla Inc said on Thursday Jim Keller, the head of its low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment, is leaving the automaker to focus on microprocessor engineering with another company.

If Keller does indeed join Intel, he would be the following another (former) CEO of AMD, Raja Koduri, the chief architect of the Radeon Technology Group, who also moved to Intel and likely soon to be joined by Chris Hook, who was Senior Director of Global Product Marketing for AMD. In the past, he worked for AMD on the Athlon 64, before jumping over to Apple to develop the A4 and A5 SoCs found in the iPhone 4 and 4S.

Pete Bannon, who has been with Tesla for over two years and has previously overseen chips made by Apple, will succeed Keller, a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement.

In the chip and microprocessor design and manufacturing world, few names command the same kind of respect as Jim Keller.

It is understood from Fudzilla's insider sources that "Keller will be working on the hardware engineering part while Koduri will be working on the IP blocks".

Keller's responsibilities in Tesla will now be shared by two executives. 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".

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