Published in PC Hardware

AMD’s Zen man switches to Tesla

by on29 January 2016

Jim Keller finds a new role

The bloke who helped create the chip which will either finish AMD or give it a renaissance has a new role working for Tesla. Ironically it really will involve him working on Nvidia gear.

Jim Keller was the lead brains behind the Zen chip and raised a few eyebrows when he cleaned out his desk before seeing the chip into the shops.

Now all has become clear as Keller has been revealed as Tesla’s new Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. Tesla today confirmed the news and sent us the following statement:
Jim Keller is joining Tesla as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering. Jim will bring together the best internal and external hardware technologies to develop the safest, most advanced autopilot systems in the world.

Before he moved to AMD Keller was a director in the platform architecture group at Apple focusing on mobile products. And made several generations of A4 and A5 mobile processors. Before that he was vice president of design for P.A. Semi which was bought by Jobs’ Mob in 2008.

His new job is not to work on in-house microprocessors, although the company needs plenty of processing power for its ‘Autopilot’ programme. Tesla’s centre stack is currently powered by Nvidia ARM CPUs.

Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the automaker was looking for “hardcore” engineers for its Autopilot team. In the few months since the release of the system via a software update last October, Tesla lost quite a few Autopilot engineers to other companies, including drone maker Skydio, aftermarket drive assist firm Cruise and Google.

Last modified on 29 January 2016
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