Autopilot Automated: Tesla’s Autopilot AI team hit by layoffs

Category: AI Regulatory

With Tesla cutting staff across the board, the leading team behind the company’s leading AI autopilot system also gets hit by layoffs as significant portions of the workload gets handled by automated systems.

Humans need not apply: Engineers replaced with automated systems

The layoffs were first reported by Bloomberg Tuesday before being confirmed by CNN Business. Data annotation specialists specifically were hit the hardest mainly due to their task being progressively automated by ML algorithms.

These specialists are mainly tasked with using software to manually identify objects in video feeds provided by Tesla cars with the labelled data being provided to the AI software in order for future iterations of Tesla’s patented Autopilot system to navigate better. These could include stop signs, lane lines, traffic cones, traffic signals, curbs, people, other cars or anything that would come up during automated driving that would need to be accounted for.

The move towards leaving this manual work in the hands of ever more sophisticated algorithms has itself led to the aforementioned downsizing. This being said, it has also led to massive increases in efficiency when it comes to filtering bulk data.

Automated progress:

Ashok Ellusway, the director of Autopilot Software, elaborated on the fact that Tesla was capable of automatically labelling over 10,000 video clips extracted from their car’s video feeds within the span of only a single week.

“This would have taken several months with humans labelling every single clip,”

This being said, official sources from Tesla itself have stated that this does not reflect a broader move to replace their salaried workforce but that this was part of a policy wherein AI and a human workforce work hand in hand.

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