Tesla FSD beta team gains former Waymo research scientist

Credit: Waymo | YouTube

Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta has gained its latest member, who joins the team after working at Waymo, the driverless ride-hailing system being developed by Google parent company Alphabet.

Former Waymo Research Scientist and Manager Charles R. Qi has announced his departure from the company to instead join Tesla’s FSD beta development team, according to a post from Qi on LinkedIn over the weekend. Qi notes that he has been with Waymo since 2019, after deciding between job offers from both the Alphabet-owned company and Tesla.

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“I will be joining the Tesla Autopilot team to work on FSD,” Qi wrote in the post. “While this move may come as a surprise to some, it has been a carefully considered decision. Back in 2019, when I was choosing my first full-time job, Tesla was one of my top choices, alongside Waymo.”

Qi graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a PhD in Electric Engineering, with his dissertation focusing on deep learning on point clouds for 3D scene understanding, as detailed on his LinkedIn profile.

The news comes as Tesla has been rolling out its highly anticipated FSD beta v12 to customers in the last several weeks, and as Waymo has gained approval to expand its driverless ride-hailing operations into Southern California.

“I believe there are multiple paths to achieving full L4 autonomy,” Qi added. “Diversity in approaches is not just beneficial but essential for innovation and progress.

“To quote Andrej Karpathy as a closing remark (from our email exchange in 2019 regarding my decision between Tesla and Waymo): ‘At the end of the day, we’re still building towards the same goal, and that future can’t come soon enough.'”

Over the years, a number of engineers, research scientists and other employees have left one company for another, as several businesses are trying to develop tech like semi-autonomous driving and artificial intelligence (AI) to be used in different applications. In December, for example, Tesla lost its Dojo Supercomputer project lead, and the automaker lost its Autopilot Director last April.

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Tesla FSD beta team gains former Waymo research scientist
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