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Google’s Waymo onboards former Tesla engineer as self-driving hardware lead

Google’s spin-off self-driving division, Waymo is bulking up on its engineering talent with the onboarding of Satish Jeyachandran, the former Director of Hardware Engineering at Tesla. He departed the electric automaker close to six months ago, taking a break from work, only to return back as the leader of its competitor’s self-driving hardware efforts.

After a lengthy seven-year long stint at Tesla, Jeyachandran departed the electric automaker earlier this year to take some time off from his responsibilities and spend time with family. He was tasked with building and mentoring the engineering team, which has been responsible for Tesla’s hardware development and execution of infotainment and Autopilot systems.

Everything from the camera & sensors suite, wireless antennas, and touch & input devices among other hardware components for the Autopilot system, which supports Tesla’s self-driving efforts. He even took a short-term assignment at Tesla’s Fremont factory as the Head of Production Control, says his LinkedIn profile.

In a statement released on LinkedIn, Jeyachandaran defines his reason for joining Waymo as under:

I’ve always wanted to be part of something that can have a meaningful impact well beyond my own personal contributions. Self-driving cars are one of those things. This technology offers incredible potential to “save millions of lives,” and I’m looking forward to working with the team at Waymo. 

I wanted to join Waymo because it has a talented, mission-driven team that has made impressive advancements in self-driving hardware. 

He further continues to mention that majority of his responsibilities at Waymo would resemble that of Tesla. Google’s self-driving arm has parted ways with several of its early executives, only because they had been handsomely paid under this program and had amassed massive capital earnings.

Thus, it’s a significant snatch for Waymo, who is looking to commercialize its self-driving efforts with a pilot program that’s already running in Arizona. It is now banking on Jeyachandran’s expertise to drive its ambitious hardware efforts, which are being clubbed under one umbrella — with the ongoing software efforts.

At Waymo, Jeyachandran has been appointed as the head of their hardware division. He’s now been tasked with the responsibility of building out Waymo’s custom self-driving hardware. This means he’ll be overseeing the development and integration of next-gen cameras, radar, LiDAR, and computer vision technologies. He’ll also work closely with the software team to pursue a seamless integration and pursue opportunities to scale Waymo’s technology.

And as Bloomberg rightly points out, there has recently been an insistent churn in talent among the multiple technology, as well as automotive giants, who’re building out their self-driving efforts. They are currently caught amid an embroiling battle to secure the pole position in the autonomous mobility market — which has extremely heated up. This has pushed experienced executives to take up better-paying roles and make the switch to their existing employer’s competitor. Some have even gone ahead to set up their own self-driving software and hardware startups.

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Google’s Waymo onboards former Tesla engineer as self-driving hardware lead


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