Andrey Karpathy, a deep learning and computer vision expert who was hired five years ago as Tesla’s AI director and led the Autopilot team, is officially leaving the company.
Karpaty was on a four-month vacation, sparking widespread speculation about whether he would return.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday afternoon, Carparti wrote: “It has been a great pleasure to help Tesla achieve its goals for the past 5 years and it is difficult to make the decision to part ways. During this time, Autopilot has moved from lane keeping to city streets, and I look forward to seeing the exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue this momentum.”
Karpathy said he has no specific plans for what he might do next, adding that he hopes to spend more time “revisiting his longstanding passions for technical work in AI, open source and education.”
Sources previously told TechCrunch that Karpathy is considering venture capital investment.
Prior to joining Tesla in 2017, Karpathy was a researcher at OpenAI, a nonprofit artificial intelligence organization backed by Elon Musk. He has extensive experience in areas related to artificial intelligence and was the creator of one of the the most respected deep learning courses taught at Stanford University.
His role at Tesla, where he focused on a computer vision system built to support Autopilot’s advanced driver assistance system, is related to his previous dissertation. In his thesis, Karpathy focused on building a system where a neural network could identify multiple discrete and specific elements in an image, label them using natural language, and report back to the user. Notably, it included the development of a system that works in reverse. This allowed the model to use natural language descriptions (such as “black dress”) and find that object in a given image.
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