Tesla issued the following statement after news first broke of Keller’s new position:
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.
Tesla made quite a splash when it introduced a beta version of its Autopilot software for Model S EVs built since late 2014. Autopilot makes uses of over a dozen ultrasonic sensors, forward-looking radar and a forward-looking camera to give “drivers” a hands-free experience behind the wheel. Although Autopilot is only meant be used on highways, some reckless drivers decided to give the feature a try in more demanding situations.
Tesla has since revised its software to put additional restrictions on Autopilot to combat thrill-seeking drivers.
During his two stints at AMD, Keller was instrumental in creating the K8 architecture found in the groundbreaking Athlon 64 and contributed to the upcoming Zen CPU architectures. When Keller first left AMD back in 2004, he moved on to P.A. Semi, which Apple acquired. During his time Apple, he helped develop the A4 and A5 processors before returning to AMD in 2012.
Tesla has a knack for hiring top talent, and it has definitely picked up a gem with the addition of Keller.