In September 2015, news broke that AMD saw the departure of Jim Keller, the firm's lead CPU Architect. The guy was the key driver behind the upcoming Zen architecture design, and also one of the brilliant minds behind the K8 architecture, as well as one of the designers of Apple's A4/A5 processors. The loss sparked some concern about AMD's Zen architecture but leaving firms after finishing a project seems to be Keller's modus operandi.
After he left AMD, people wondered which other opportunities he would pursue. There was a rumor about him joining Samsung as Chief Architect but it seems this didn't pan out as we now have official confirmation that Keller took up a position as Vice President of Autopilot Hardware Engineering at Tesla Motors!
The electric car maker confirmed to Electrek that Keller will be involved in taking Tesla's autopilot systems to the next level, to make it the safest and most advanced system in the world:
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.
At present, Tesla uses NVIDIA's car computers. It's unknown if the car maker plans to develop an in-house alternative.
NVIDIA showed off its most advanced in-vehicle AI solution at CES 2016, the upcoming Drive PX2 uses a dual-CPU Tegra SoC solution and a Pascal-based GPU to deliver 8 teraflops of computing power .
The role as Tesla describes it isn’t necessarily to focus on in-house microprocessors, although the company needs plenty of processing power for its ‘Autopilot’ program. But Keller’s hardware engineering experience, especially his low-power design expertise as mentioned by Papermaster , undoubtedly represent valuable transferable skills useful for many of Tesla’s programs.