It has long been rumored that Tesla and Apple are engaged in a poaching competition to see who can steal each other’s prize staff.
If there is such a chess game underway, so far it looks like Tesla is doing a better job of taking the high-quality pieces. The electric carmaker recently hired legendary chip architect Jim Keller as Vice-President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering, and he has now been joined by former DEC Alpha, PA Semi and Apple Director Peter Bannon, writes Fred Lambert for Electrek.
New hire teams up with former Apple colleague
Keller left Apple in 2012 to work at AMD, but before he did so he was leading Apple’s processor development alongside Bannon. Apple bought chip making firm PA Semi in 2008.
Under the pair’s leadership Apple developed its A4 and A5 processors, which were used on most of the company’s mobile services between 2010 and 2012. After Keller left to work on the Zen architecture at AMD, Bannon stayed around to develop other chips for Apple before moving to the electric carmaker last week.
Bannonhas received credit as an inventor on dozens of processor-related patents, and is the latest high-profile scientist to make the move from Apple to Tesla. CEO Elon Musk recently hired Apple alloy expert Charles Kuehmann, who will now lead materials engineering divisions at both Tesla and SpaceX.
Is Tesla going to work on developing its own processors?
Kuehmann’s official title is Vice-President of Materials Engineering, and he is responsible for working on innovative materials. Tesla also poached Andrew Graham, former Motion Sensor Engineer at Apple, to join its Autopilot engineer staff.
While the hire of Bannon is interesting as the latest in a so-called poaching war, it also raises interesting questions about the electric carmaker’s future intentions. Is the company thinking of making its own processors?
While it might seem unlikely it must be said that with the hire of Bannon, Tesla now has two of the most highly-regarded processor architects in the world on its staff. While their engineering expertise can certainly be of use in other departments at the electric carmaker, Tesla could also look to benefit from their core skills.