Three of the top self-driving vehicle technology engineers at Uber have departed from the company in recent months, according to recent reports.
Amongst which, are: the head of its autonomy and perception group, Drew Bagnell; the head of its mapping group, Brett Browning; and robotics engineer Peter Rander.
The departure of Bagnell and Rander were apparently just announced at the beginning of December in an internal email sent to employees, according to Recode. The departure of Rander reportedly occurred back in September.
Interestingly, all 3 of engineers had themselves been poached by Uber while working for Carnegie Mellon, Carnegie Robotics, or the National Robotics Engineering Center.
Recode provides more: “It’s not clear what the next step is for the engineers, though Rander lists himself on LinkedIn as a robotics and self-driving technology consultant. The moves come following Uber’s acquisition of self-driving trucking company Otto in August, which put co-founder Anthony Levandowski in charge of the company’s autonomous efforts above existing directors Raffi Krikorian — who was previously at Twitter and joined Uber in March 2015 — and John Bares — who was poached from Carnegie Robotics in January 2015.”
Notably, the news follows the “launch” of UberFreight and the acquisition of the machine learning firm Geometric Intelligence. This acquisition was accompanied by the creation of an AI division to be headed by Gary Marcus, the CEO of Geometric Intelligence.
Continuing: “In September, Uber also saw the departure of its head of applied machine learning, Marcos Campos. Campos left to be the head of AI at a startup called Bonsai that pitches itself as a platform that makes it easy to integrate machine learning into apps.”
Interesting news — though, it’s hard to say what it means exactly. Major roadblocks ahead?