Elon Musk isn't lying: Tesla has been on a year-long hiring spree for autonomous-vehicle experts

2 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts

When Elon Musk makes a promise about the future of Tesla ($NASDAQ:TSLA), media outlets go a little crazy. This week was no different. At an event called "Tesla Autonomy Day" on April 22, Musk and co showed off the electric-vehicle company's latest advancements when it comes to self-driving cars.

But the statement that really got critics going was related to Tesla's new full self-driving computer, or FSD, which promises to be the best autopilot tech developed yet. He then went on to state that Tesla will have what's called "level 5 autonomy" by 2020, which promises autopilot technology that will allow passengers in cars to not pay attention to driving at all.

Musk capped the conference off with this statement: "“By the middle of next year, we’ll have over a million Tesla cars on the road with full self-driving hardware, feature complete, at a reliability level that we would consider that no one needs to pay attention."

While journalists are busy fact-checking Musk, we have some straight data regarding how Tesla Motors has been hiring experts in autonomous driving.

It turns out he wasn't lying. While a good dose of skepticism is healthy when it comes to eccentric billionaire promising free lunch, in this particular case it seems the skeptics might want to wait a bit.

That's because Tesla, despite the fact that it's been slowing its overall hiring efforts for some time, has been on a hiring spree for autopilot experts. Beginning last spring, openings with the term "Autopilot" in their titles spiked from 15 to 26 and held steady into early 2019. That's a 10-month hiring spree at the very least.

In aggregate, Tesla has been seeking hundreds of autopilot experts, with titles ranging from "Machine Learning Specialist - Autopilot" to "Autopilot Internship/Co-Op (Summer 2019)", and virtually everything in between.

It appears that Tesla is filling the positions, as well. A 30-day recruitment analysis that estimates which positions have been filled (assuming that if a position disappears from Tesla's careers site within 30 days that it's been filled) reveals that around 117 people have been hired so far for the company's autopilot team.

It's also worth noting that the vast majority of these new positions are location at Tesla's Palo Alto development facility, which echoes our earlier reports that Tesla is deep in development mode for its next big thing(s). A sample of job openings from December 27 appears below as an example.

Title

Location Text

Openings

Software Infrastructure Engineer, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

3

Autopilot Internship/Co-Op (Summer 2019)

Palo Alto, California

2

Autopilot Hardware Performance Internship/Co-Op (Winter/Spring 2019)

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Internship/Co-Op (Winter/Spring 2019)

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Software QA Engineer

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Software Engineering Internship/Co-Op (Winter/Spring 2019)

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Software Engineering Internship/Co-Op (Summer 2019)

Palo Alto, California

1

Computer Vision Scientist - Geometric Vision, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Senior Linux Kernel Developer

Palo Alto, California

1

Computer Vision Scientist/Engineer, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Senior Firmware Engineer

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Hardware Performance Internship/Co-Op (Summer 2019)

Palo Alto, California

1

Executive Assistant, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Software Engineer, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Autopilot Computer Vision Scientist/Engineer

Palo Alto, California

1

Firmware Engineer - Autopilot

Austin, Texas

1

Sr. Machine Learning Scientist - Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Frontend Tools Engineer, Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

Sr. Object Storage Architect, Autopilot Infrastructure

Fremont, California

1

Sr. CUDA Software Engineer, Autopilot Infrastructure

Fremont, California

1

Senior Firmware Engineer - Autopilot

Austin, Texas

1

Systems Software Engineer - Autopilot Computer Vision

Palo Alto, California

1

Machine Learning Scientist - Autopilot

Palo Alto, California

1

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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