Google’s self-driving division Waymo has hired Satish Jeyachandran, the former director of hardware engineering at Tesla, a close competitor in the self-driving race.
Jeyachandran will lead the hardware division, according to Bloomberg, focused on building Lidar, radar, cameras, sensors, and silicon for the company’s self-driving cars.
“A few years ago, we made the decision to start building our own self driving vision system, radar and LiDAR in house,” said Waymo CEO, John Krafcik, in a statement.
“This has been crucial to improving the quality of our self-driving technology, and bringing down cost. With Satish’s expertise, we’ll be able to further advance our self-driving hardware, and bring our technology to more people, more quickly.”
Waymo has been aggressively hiring in hardware, software, artificial intelligence, and deep learning fields since being spun-out of Google X Labs by Alphabet. At the same time, the company has lost most of its star power from the early days, with former head Chris Urmson the last of the major contributors to leave in 2016 to found his own startup.
Another key executive, Anthony Levandowski, was recently sued by Waymo for allegedly stealing trade secrets and revealing them to Uber.
Waymo has not revealed any plans to build its own car, instead working with automakers like Fiat Chrysler to provide the cars. Waymo then outfits the cars with the specialized hardware for self-driving, and in the case of the Chrysler Pacifica minivans, the hardware team even adjusted the car’s weight and some of the features. This could be Waymo’s plan of action for the future, instead of investing millions into the complex car manufacturing market.