Tesla’s senior director of AI quits 

Andrej Karpathy, employed by Tesla five years ago as the Autopilot vision team’s team leader and is deep learning and computer vision expert, has formally departed the firm.
Andrej Karpathy

Andrej Karpathy, a deep learning and computer vision specialist, hired by Tesla five years ago to lead the Autopilot vision team, has formally left the company.

Karpathy was on a four-month sabbatical, which sparked extensive rumors about his potential comeback. 

He stated, “It’s been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last five years and a difficult decision to part ways. In that time, Autopilot graduated from lane keeping to city streets, and I look forward to seeing the powerful Autopilot team continue that momentum,” in a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon. 

He admitted that he didn’t have any specific ideas for his future. However, he did say that he wanted to spend more time “revisiting my long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source and education.”

The news of Karpathy’s acquisition comes as Tesla said in a regulatory filing in California that it was firing 229 data annotation staff members who were a part of the wider Autopilot team and closing the San Mateo, California office where they worked. 

Elon Musk, the CEO, hailed working with the deep learning and computer vision specialist as an “honor.” On Wednesday, Musk congratulated Karpathy for his five years of service to Tesla. “Thanks for everything you have done for Tesla!  It has been an honor working with you,” he tweeted.

Elon Musk supports OpenAI as an artificial intelligence nonprofit. Karpathy worked as a researcher at OpenAI until he joined Tesla in 2017. 

He has a wealth of experience in AI-related subjects and developed one of Stanford University’s most prestigious deep learning courses. His position at Tesla, where he concentrated on the computer vision system created to support the Autopilot advanced driving assistance system, was related to the research he had previously done for his dissertation. 

Karpathy’s dissertation was primarily concerned with developing a system enabling a neural network to recognize several distinct and precise elements inside an image, label them in plain language, and provide a user report. Notably, it included creating a system that operates backward. This made it possible for a model to recognize an object in a picture using natural language descriptors.

The resignation of Karpathy can be seen as a setback for Tesla’s automated driving and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives. Who will succeed him or where he will go next are yet unknown. In the regular session on Wednesday, Tesla shares ended 1.7 percent higher at $711.12 but dipped almost 1 percent to $704.05 during the after-hours trading.

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