Tesla’s Dojo Supercomputer project lead, Ganesh Venkataramanan, has left the automaker, dealing a potential blow to the company’s self-driving efforts as it will now scramble to work with a new leader.
Bloomberg reported today that Venkataramanan has departed the company, according to people familiar with the matter, after five years with Tesla. Peter Bannon, who left Apple for Tesla seven years ago, is now assumed to be leading the project, according to the report.
Dojo has been Tesla’s plan to advance its self-driving program forward as it continues to attempt to achieve fully autonomous cars. Dojo is responsible for processing data that is captured by vehicles and then transferred and used to learn behaviors and tendencies of vehicles, essentially training the cars to be prepared for navigating any scenario.
Tesla’s plan has been to use a neural network to store the data and create the safest and most accurate self-driving vehicles in the world.
Dojo is powered by a D1 chip that Venkataramanan designed, along with the help of Bannon, who is now leading the program.
Tesla has lost several members of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving teams over the past couple of years, including Andrej Karpathy, who was the Senior Director of AI and Computer Vision, as well as Kate Park, who left her role as Director of Product on the Autopilot team.
However, the Tesla team is robust with both young and experienced talent, and this situation is no different considering Bannon’s immediate promotion to Venkataramanan’s role.
Bloomberg stated that Venkataramanan’s contact information was removed from Tesla’s company directories by Wednesday. Another member of the team has also left, but there was no indication or immediately-known reasoning for their departure.
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