Tesla Inc’s TSLA senior director of artificial intelligence, Andrej Karpathy, has quit. CEO Elon Musk said it was an “honor” working with the deep learning and computer vision expert.

What Happened: Musk thanked Karpathy for his five-year stint at Tesla on Wednesday. He tweeted, “Thanks for everything you have done for Tesla! It has been an honor working with you.”

Karpathy said it was a “great pleasure” to help the Musk-led automaker advance towards its goals over the last half-decade. He noted that during his time Tesla’s Autopilot “graduated from lane keeping to city streets.”

“I have no concrete plans for what’s next but look to spend more time revisiting my long-term passions around technical work in AI, open source and education,” said Karpathy on Twitter.

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Why It Matters: Earlier this month, Musk said Karpathy was on a four-month sabbatical while responding to a question on Twitter.

At the time, Karpathy had said he was taking some time off to “rest & travel” after his long stint at the company. He had hinted at coming back to the company.

Price Action: On Wednesday, Tesla shares closed 1.7% higher at $711.12 in the regular session and fell nearly 1% to $704.05 in the after-hours trading, according to Benzinga Pro data.

Benzinga’s Take: The departure of Karpathy could be construed as a setback to Tesla’s self-driving and AI-related efforts. There is no clarity yet on who will be replacing him or where he’s headed next.

Read Next: Tesla Loses India Policy Exec After Shelving Expansion Plans: Report

Photo via Kaspars Grinvalds on Shutterstock


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