Tesla AI leader Andrej Karpathy announces he is leaving the company

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A Tesla Model S car equipped with an Autopilot

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Andrej Karpathy, leader of Tesla AI and Autopilot, announced on Wednesday that he no longer works for the electric vehicle maker.

Karpathy wrote on Twitter: “It has been a great pleasure to help Tesla achieve its goals over the past 5 years and a difficult decision to part ways. During this time Autopilot transitioned from keeping the lane to the streets of the city ​​and I can’t wait to see the exceptionally strong Autopilot team build on that momentum.”

He added, “I don’t have any concrete plans for what’s next, but I’m looking to spend more time revisiting my long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source, and education. “

CEO Elon Musk thanked Karpathy for his work in response.

A team of experienced machine learning scientists and engineers reported directly to Karpathy, who had recently taken a several-month sabbatical from Tesla.

Tesla vehicles have accounted for nearly 70% of reported crashes involving advanced driver assistance systems since June 2021, according to federal figures released last month. Officials warned that the data was incomplete and not intended to indicate which automaker’s systems might be the safest.

In late 2016, Musk promised Tesla fans a self-driving car that could drive from Los Angeles to New York without “needing a single touch” by the end of 2017.

In 2019, Musk raised billions of dollars for Tesla by promising investors that the company would have 1 million “robotaxi-ready” cars on the road by the end of 2020. He also warned investors in 2019, “Sometimes I’m not on time, but I do.”

To date, the company has failed to deliver a coast-to-coast autonomous vehicle demonstration.

Tesla instead offers driver-assist features like traffic-aware cruise control, lane-keep assist, and automated navigation.

However, even Tesla’s most advanced experimental package, which is marketed in the United States as the Full Self-Driving Beta system, requires a human driver to remain alert to the road, with hands on the wheel and ready. to take over the driving task at any time.

Karpathy’s departure follows the closure of a Tesla office in San Mateo, Calif., where data annotation teams were helping improve the company’s driver assistance technology.

According to California Employment Development Department records, 229 people were laid off from that office. Karpathy worked from Tesla’s former headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

This is a developing story, please check for updates.

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