Tesla loses a top AI lead

Tesla has lost a top AI engineer in charge of “planning, imitation learning & RL team for Tesla AI” amid a broader talent exodus.

Over the last few weeks, Tesla has been conducting several major waves of layoffs throughout its entire organization.

On top of the layoffs, we recently reported that some Tesla employees are leaving the company due to low morale.

There appears to be a clear exodus of talent at Tesla at the moment for many different reasons.

Another example is Paril Jain.

Jain spent the last 9 years at Tesla where he became an important part of Tesla’s autonomous driving effort.

Most recently, he was tech lead for “Planning, Imitation Learning & RL team for Tesla AI.” He listed the responsibilities of his team on LinkedIn:

  • Build the Foundation Models for autonomy that can scale to vehicle as well as humanoid platforms
  • Leverage millions of miles of driving data and interventions to build a robust and scalable end-to-end learning based self-driving system.
  • Research on cutting-edge techniques in generative models, reward models and reinforcement learning to improve the safety and comfort of our driving models.
  • Experiment with synthetic data generation and network driven data collection approaches to enhance the diversity and quality of training data
  • Ship production quality, safety-critical software to the entirety of Tesla’s vehicle fleet

Today, he announced that he is leaving Tesla to co-found ‘The Bot Company’, a startup to build robots founded by Kyle Vogt, co-founder of Twitch and Cruise.

Super pumped for the next phase of building. We have spent the last decade building robots that give people some of their time back, and it’s time to take it to the next level with The Bot Company.

Jain has good words for the Tesla team:

As for Tesla – it has been an incredible 7 years building the best self driving product on the market. You’ll love the upcoming versions of V12 and Actually Smart Summon. The team is on an amazing trajectory to continue pushing forward more improvements on the road to being driverless

Nonetheless, Tesla’s autonomous driving team appears to have lost another engineering leader.

Electrek’s Take

As I have been saying for a while, Tesla’s biggest strength has always been its capacity to attract and retain talent. The company always scored in the top places engineering students want to work.

I think the way Elon handled the latest round of layoffs, and the talent exodus that is happening now, shows that this capacity is eroding.

I hope that they can turn this around.

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