Tesla has just lost the project lead for its Dojo supercomputer project, according to "people familiar with the matter" in a new report from Bloomberg.
Ganesh Venkataramanan was the former head of the Dojo supercomputer project at Tesla, in that position for the last five years, leaving Tesla last month in November 2023. Tesla has appointed former Apple executive and director at Tesla for the last seven years, Peter Bannon, to lead the Dojo project.
What is Tesla's new Dojo supercomputer? Tesla announced its in-house Dojo D1 AI processor in August 2021 as a Tesla-designed supercomputer that has been created to train the machine learning models for Tesla's self-driving technology. The Dojo AI processor will take in all of the data captured by the Tesla vehicle you're driving and process it faster than ever before and would lead to the future of self-driving technology in autonomous cars.
So big, that Morgan Stanley said that Dojo could be a huge advantage for Tesla, adding $500 billion to its value. Yeah, $500 billion with a B. Tesla boss Elon Musk has said the company plans to pump over $1 billion into its Dojo supercomputer project by the end of 2024, too.
Venkataramanan, Bannon, and others helped design the custom Tesla Dojo D1 chip, with Venkataramanan coming in from AMD. Venkataramanan was the one who set up Tesla's AI hardware and silicon divisions all the way back in 2016.
Tesla has recently installed hardware for its Dojo project at a centralized location in Palo Alto, California, according to two of Bloomberg's sources. Dojo has used multiple data centers spread out across multiple locations previously, but the new in-house hardware should be a big boost for Tesla engineers.
Bloomberg reports that it wasn't just Venkataramanan that left Tesla's Dojo team, but "at least one other member of the group has also left". The site reports that there's no current reason why these staffers left, but they do "pose a blow to the expensive and technologically advanced project".