Tesla Dojo project lead departs company

Credit: Tesla

Tesla’s Dojo Supercomputer project lead, Ganesh Venkataramanan, has left the automaker, dealing a potential blow to the company’s self-driving efforts as it will now scramble to work with a new leader.

Bloomberg reported today that Venkataramanan has departed the company, according to people familiar with the matter, after five years with Tesla. Peter Bannon, who left Apple for Tesla seven years ago, is now assumed to be leading the project, according to the report.

Dojo has been Tesla’s plan to advance its self-driving program forward as it continues to attempt to achieve fully autonomous cars. Dojo is responsible for processing data that is captured by vehicles and then transferred and used to learn behaviors and tendencies of vehicles, essentially training the cars to be prepared for navigating any scenario.

Tesla’s plan has been to use a neural network to store the data and create the safest and most accurate self-driving vehicles in the world.

Dojo is powered by a D1 chip that Venkataramanan designed, along with the help of Bannon, who is now leading the program.

Tesla has lost several members of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving teams over the past couple of years, including Andrej Karpathy, who was the Senior Director of AI and Computer Vision, as well as Kate Park, who left her role as Director of Product on the Autopilot team.

However, the Tesla team is robust with both young and experienced talent, and this situation is no different considering Bannon’s immediate promotion to Venkataramanan’s role.

Bloomberg stated that Venkataramanan’s contact information was removed from Tesla’s company directories by Wednesday. Another member of the team has also left, but there was no indication or immediately-known reasoning for their departure.

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Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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