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Tesla's head of Autopilot leaves; ex-Apple exec to succeed him

Key Points
  • Tesla said Jim Keller, the head of its low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment, is leaving the automaker.
  • Pete Bannon, who has been with Tesla for over two years and has previously overseen Apple's A5 chip develop through to the A9 chip, will succeed Keller.
Tesla's Model 3 at the Tesla store in Washington, D.C.
Salwan Georges | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Tesla said on Thursday Jim Keller, the head of its low-voltage hardware, Autopilot software and infotainment, is leaving the automaker to focus on microprocessor engineering with another company.

Pete Bannon, who has been with Tesla for over two years and has previously overseen Apple's A5 chip develop through to the A9 chip, will succeed Keller, a Tesla spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement.

Keller will be joining Intel, the company announced, confirming an earlier Wall Street Journal report. Tesla declined to comment on this.

Separately, Andrej Karpathy, Tesla's director of AI and Autopilot vision, will now have overall responsibility for all Autopilot software within the company, the spokeswoman said.

Earlier this month, Tesla withdrew as a formal party to the National Transportation Safety Board's probe into a fatal March 23 crash in California in which the semi-autonomous "Autopilot" driving system was in use, before the board revoked its status.

Driver Walter Huang's death in the crash and vehicle fire in a Tesla Model X near Mountain View, California, prompted investigations by the NTSB and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The NTSB has three pending probes into Tesla crashes.