As Tesla started rolling out its Full Self Beta system to Canada, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company’s AI Director, Deep Learning expert and OpenAI founding member Andrej Karpathy, is currently on a ~4-month sabbatical. Karpathy confirmed the news on Twitter.
According to the AI Director, he is currently taking some time off Tesla to rest and travel, though he is also excited to refocus and re-sharpen his technical edge. The AI Director further noted that he is looking forward to getting back to his work at the electric vehicle maker.
“Taking some time off to rest & travel after almost 5 years at Tesla. Esp(ecially) excited to get focused time to re-sharpen my technical edge and train some neural nets! Though I already miss all the robots and GPU/Dojo clusters and looking forward to having them at my fingertips again,” Karpathy wrote on Twitter.
While the AI Director’s sabbatical may seem like worrying news to Tesla supporters considering his role in the development of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, it is difficult to deny that the Karpathy has helped set the company’s self-driving efforts on a potential path to success.
Upon Karpathy’s return to Tesla after his sabbatical, several important and exciting projects will be waiting. These include the deployment of the company’s Dojo Supercomputer, which is expected to help accelerate the training of Autopilot and FSD, as well as the rollout of the company’s Hardware 4.0, which will be deployed in the Cybertruck.
Andrej Karpathy is considered one of the most prolific experts in the Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning fields. During his stay at Stanford, he designed and became the primary instructor for the university’s first deep learning class, “CS 231n: Convolutional Neural Networks for Visual Recognition.” The class grew to one of the largest in Stanford, growing from 150 enrolled students in 2015 to 750 students in 2017.
Karpathy was also a founding member and Research Scientist at OpenAI, an initiative that was, at one point, linked to Elon Musk. The Tesla AI Director worked on deep learning for generative models and deep reinforcement learning in OpenAI before he was hired at Tesla as the company’s AI Director. Karpathy currently leads Tesla’s computer vision team of Autopilot, which focuses on data gathering and neural network training, among others.