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Tesla Loses Its Autopilot Engineering Manager To Google

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Tesla is losing talent not only to Apple and Faraday (its mysterious rival) but also to Google. The latest person to depart is Robert Rose, who led Tesla’s super ambitious Autopilot project’s development. The change was first spotted by 9to5Google on Rose’s LinkedIn page.

Big blow to Tesla

Rose worked for about six months to help Tesla launch its Autopilot and Autosteer features. He also spent more than five years at SpaceX. There, he served as a software engineer on some of the first Falcon 9 flights. Thereafter, he was promoted to the position of director of flight software for all of SpaceX.

What exactly Rose will be working on at Google is not very clear for now, but his LinkedIn profile listed the role as that of a software engineer for Google Robotics. As pointed out by 9to5Google, while releasing the job listings for its self-driving car project, Google made use of similar language. It could have different meanings as well, like it could refer to the self-driving car program or various related companies like Boston Dynamics.

The exit of Rose comes as a big blow to Tesla, which is gradually implementing more advanced driver assist features to help develop its autonomous driving technology. On the other hand, Google is working on developing fully autonomous technology. They have different approaches in term of hardware as well. Google puts LIDAR technology to use, while Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk does not consider it necessary to achieve full autonomy.

Poaching talent – a trend in the autonomous car race

Poaching talent has become a trend and the weapon of choice in the race for an autonomous car. On one hand, Tesla poaches employees from Apple, while on the other, Apple hires the employees Tesla fires. And Faraday Future, the secretive startup, has poached employees from both firms.

Google too is an active player in the race and has poached many employees. One prominent name among them is John Krafcik, named as CEO of Google’s self-driving car project. Krafcik worked for Ford earlier and also led Hyundai America as CEO of the company’s self-driving car project.

Almost at the same time when Google hired Rose from Tesla’s Autopilot team, the Autopilot team hired a software engineer from Google’s Maps Street View team.

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