Tesla’s Autopilot Director Departs, While Apple’s Swift Developer Joins AP Program

10 months ago by Mark Kane 8

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

An interesting personnel reshuffle has taken place recently in Tesla Motors’ autonomous driving program.

According to Bloomberg, Autopilot head Sterling Anderson has departed after more than a year at Tesla (since November 2015).

Tesla Autopilot - Autosteer

Tesla Autopilot – Autosteer

“Tesla didn’t announce Anderson’s departure, which was confirmed by the person who asked not to be identified because the change wasn’t made public. Anderson didn’t respond to a request for comment.”

On the other hand, it would seem the “talent war” with Apple has continued in Anderson’s wake, as Chris Lattner (Apple’s Swift development leader) has since joined Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Software.

And Tesla welcomed Chris with a blog post – so they must be pleased with the acquisition of new talent:

Welcome Chris Lattner

Tesla's new self driving hardware/360 degree vision to allow for Level 5 autonomy in the future (think ~2018 ish)

Tesla’s new self driving hardware/360 degree vision to allow for Level 5 autonomy in the future (think ~2018 ish)

We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software. Chris’s reputation for engineering excellence is well known. He comes to Tesla after 11 years at Apple where he was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms and one of the fastest growing languages for doing so on Linux. Prior to Apple, Chris was lead author of the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure, an open source umbrella project that is widely used in commercial products and academic research today.

As Chris joins Tesla, we would like to give a special thanks to Jinnah Hosein, SpaceX’s Vice President of Software, who has been serving a dual role as the interim Vice President of Tesla Autopilot Software and will now be heading back to SpaceX full-time. We would like to thank Jinnah for the efforts needed to achieve excellence in both roles, David Nister, our Vice President of Autopilot Vision, and the team for their exceptional work in advancing Autopilot.

We are very excited that Chris is joining Tesla to lead our Autopilot engineering team and accelerate the future of autonomous driving.

Bloomberg

Tags: , , , , , , ,

8 responses to "Tesla’s Autopilot Director Departs, While Apple’s Swift Developer Joins AP Program"

  1. Pinewold says:

    Looks like somebody did not get the promotion they wanted…

  2. jimijonjack&jill says:

    Fly By Night!

  3. JR says:

    Lets hope we finally get some Apps for Tesla, so it will be possible to personalize the screen more!, and some skins for the interface would be nice!

  4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    I thought Elon said that Apple was the “Tesla graveyard,” when asked about Apple developing its own EV and competing with Tesla. Elon said “If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

    Elon sure likes hiring zombies from Apple. Inside of Tesla it must look like a scene from the “Walking Dead.” 😉

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/10/09/elon-musk-on-apple-car-plans-a-tesla-graveyard-where-fired-workers-go.html

  5. Kdawg says:

    “We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software. Chris’s reputation for engineering excellence is well known.”
    ————
    That may be true, but Anderson’s reputation was sterling. (wah wah)

    (it was either this terrible pun or a blerp about Chris Lattner having a hell of a jump shot)

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      LOL!

  6. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    LOL!

  7. realistic says:

    I’m one of the biggest Tesla skeptics here (graded against Plug-In driving, employed-in-the-electrification-sector equivalents). But I can actually get the idea that Tesla is struggling to put the right person in the slot. Nobody should be afraid of making changes where they need to be made, especially at the top of the organization.

    I will say that there is no “just right” person for this slot. You certainly want people who understand how to assemble a software environment around all the commercialization (“monetizing”) aspects, and surely the Apple veterans bring this to the table. But you also need a very strong skill set in the looming certification requirements and those are not trivial. ISO26262 ASIL D requirements for hardware/software integration and validation are a BIG deal, even for things as simple as electronic steering wheel locks. There is no historical precedent for applying those standards (requirements traceability all the way through to system validation) to a system like Auto Pilot (not a jab at Tesla: ditto anyone else’s truly autonomous control system). You’re probably looking at someone who’s managed the certification of a commercial aircraft “cockpit” to come close. And then THAT person will likely have weak-to-no-experience in the areas that the Apple or Google resume brings.

    Is a puzzlement.