Car Industry

Tesla's Autopilot boss Jim Keller leaves the company

Keller has left Tesla to return to designing semiconductors.

It sure does seem like Tesla can't catch a break lately, what with the high-profile Autopilot-related fatality, its Model 3 production woes, and a boss that sleeps at the factory. Things are about to get a little more complicated, because Tesla's head of Autopilot development, Jim Keller, has just flown the coop.

Keller joined Tesla two years ago from chip-maker AMD, where he was a legendary chip designer. His departure isn't a huge surprise given the mad rush by Silicon Valley and Detroit alike to hire anyone with autonomous vehicle system engineering experience, though he has apparently returned to his previous work designing semiconductors.

Tesla's head of Autopilot, Jim Keller, has left the company in the wake of several high-profile incidents involving the driving-assistance system.

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"Today is Jim Keller's last day at Tesla, where he has overseen low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment," Tesla said in its statement late Tuesday. "Prior to joining Tesla, Jim's core passion was microprocessor engineering, and he's now joining a company where he'll be able to once again focus on this exclusively. We appreciate his contributions to Tesla and wish him the best."

Keller will be replaced by Pete Bannon, a two-year Tesla vet who came over from Apple, as head of Autopilot hardware while Andrej Karpathy, director of AI and Autopilot Vision, will take over the development of Autopilot software.