Andrej Karpathy, Tesla's director of AI, who led the Autopilot vision team, on Thursday announced that he is leaving the company as the electric car-maker keeps laying off thousands across verticals.
In a tweet, Karpathy said he has no concrete plans for what's next but looks to spend more time revisiting his long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source and education.
Karpathy joined Elon Musk-run Tesla five years ago. He was on a four-month leave of absence, fuelling speculations about his return.
"It's been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last 5 years and a difficult decision to part ways. In that time, Autopilot graduated from lane keeping to city streets and I look forward to seeing the exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue that momentum," Karpathy posted.
Prior to joining Tesla in 2017, he was a researcher at OpenAI, the AI nonprofit backed by Musk.
His departure came as Tesla laid off 229 annotation employees from its Autopilot team and closed one of its offices in the US.
According to a regulatory filing in California state in the US, the electric car-maker laid off workers from its San Mateo office that employed 276 workers.
The remaining 47 employees may be sent to work in Tesla's Buffalo Autopilot office, according to TechCrunch.
The layoffs were part of the 10 per cent reduction in salaried workforce that Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced last month.