There appears to be some turbulence in the Tesla Autopilot team that is causing their staff to disband and leave for other companies (and even start their own companies). Now, a former Tesla employee has made the move to head up Audi’s autonomous driving team as CTO.
Alexandre Haag was a senior manager on the Tesla Autopilot when he worked there. He oversaw important operations within the Autopilot team at the electric carmaker. When one of his peers left the company to start his own company, Haag also left with no word on where he had headed to. Until now.
In an update on Haag’s LinkedIn profile, we can see that he is now Chief Technology Office for Autonomous Intelligent Driving. That is the name of a company that is owned by Audi and is part of the Volkswagen Group. Haag says that he will now “build and lead a talented and passionate team to develop and ship a full software stack for self-driving cars.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Audi have made a separate company to develop the software for their self-driving efforts, as they will be able to profit off selling any successful software to other companies and brands. It’s also likely that the spin-off company will develop software for the other brands under the Volkswagen Group banner.
“[We will] develop and ship a full software stack for self-driving cars.”
ALEXANDRE HAAG – AUTONOMOUS INTELLIGENT DRIVING
Interestingly, the CEO of Autonomous Intelligent Driving is Karlheinz Wurm, an executive that used to work for the Microsoft Skype team. Another person that is confirmed to be working for the new company is a former Audi executive who is now in charge of developing User Interfaces at the company.
It’s likely that Audi have a strong interest in developing their own software for their self-driving cars outside of the core brand due to commitments with other companies such as NVIDIA for their self-driving hardware who they announced a partnership with at CES last year. It’s worth noting that NVIDIA are also powering the Tesla Autopilot system – this is largely due to the fact that NVIDIA are currently the go-to company for the extreme computing power that is required by the demands of a self-driving system.
Audi has made plans to offer their first self-driving cars in 2020. The partnership with NVIDIA was made to speed up those plans, but there is still a lot of work to be done by Audi and Automated Intelligent Driving to bring safe autonomous cars to public roads.
We have included a video in our article from theverge.com that shows the Audi and NVIDIA self-driving concept that was shown at CES last year.