Top AI expert leaves Tesla as NHTSA autopilot investigation intensifies

To say that Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is having an interesting week would be a massive understatement.

On the heels of the news of Twitter launching a lawsuit against the tech billionaire for bailing on a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media platform, Musk was also hit with the devastating news that one of his most important scientists at Tesla decided to quit.

According to CNBC, Tesla’s AI leader Andrej Karpathy announced earlier in the week that he would be leaving the company. Karpathy was the lead on the company’s autopilot, self-driving program, and his resignation comes at an interesting time.

His departure comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ramped up investigations into hundreds of accidents that involved Tesla Autopilot.

CNBC added: “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.”

Karpathy, who has roughly a half million followers, took to Twitter to announce his resignation and give his fans an idea of what might be next.

“It’s been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last 5 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 exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue that momentum,” the AI engineer wrote.

In another tweet, he added, “I have no concrete plans for what’s next but look to spend more time revisiting my long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source and education.”

Musk responded to Karpathy’s post with a heart-felt thank you.

Karapathy’s departure also comes in the wake of Tesla cutting some 229 jobs at its San Mateo, California campus, shortly after Musk wrote on Twitter that he has a “bad feeling” about the direction of the U.S. economy.

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