After our exclusive report that Tesla hired legendary chip architect Jim Keller from AMD as new “Vice-President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering” earlier this year, we were expecting some new hires to complete Tesla’s growing Autopilot team – especially since CEO Elon Musk said the project was “super high priority” and even encouraged people to apply via Twitter.
Sure enough, Keller’s former colleague at PA Semi and Apple, Peter Bannon, followed him at Tesla just a few weeks later. And now in a significant sourcing move, Electrek has learned that Tesla poached a team of high-profile chip architects and executives from AMD to develop the next generation Autopilot under Keller’s leadership.
Tesla is expected to release more features through over-the-air updates utilizing its current hardware Autopilot suite, but the system, which consists of a forward-looking camera, a radar, and 360 degree sonar sensors, is limited and not expected to achieve fully autonomous driving. Hence why Tesla is currently developing its second generation Autopilot hardware suite, which is should enable fully self-driving cars.
Tesla hires yet another chip architecture titan out of Apple’s PA Semi, feeding the rumor that it plans to design its own silicon
If there’s indeed a poaching chess game going on between Tesla and Apple, it would appear the automaker is winning in acquiring quality pieces. Just a few week after we exclusively reported that Tesla hired legendary chip architect Jim Keller as new “Vice-President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering”, we now learn that Keller is joined by former DEC Alpha, PA Semi and until earlier this year Apple Director Peter Bannon.
Before Keller left Apple for AMD in 2012, he and Bannon were leading Apple’s processor development since the Cupertino-based company bought their chip making firm PA Semi in 2008. The duo lead the development of Apple’s A4 and A5 processors, which powered most of the company’s mobile devices from 2010 to 2012. Keller then left to develop the Zen architecture at AMD, but Bannon stuck around and developed several other chips for Apple until leaving for Tesla to join Keller last week.