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Elon Musk's Tribute To Indian-Origin Engineer Behind Tesla's AI Breakthrough

Elon Musk has publicly acknowledged the contributions of Indian-origin Ashok Elluswamy, the first person hired for Tesla’s autopilot team, crediting him with the company’s success in AI and autopilot software. In a heartfelt message on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Musk expressed his gratitude towards Elluswamy, highlighting his pivotal role in Tesla’s advancements. “Thanks, […]

Elon Musk has publicly acknowledged the contributions of Indian-origin Ashok Elluswamy, the first person hired for Tesla’s autopilot team, crediting him with the company’s success in AI and autopilot software. In a heartfelt message on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Musk expressed his gratitude towards Elluswamy, highlighting his pivotal role in Tesla’s advancements.

“Thanks, Ashok! Ashok was the first person to join the Tesla AI/Autopilot team and ultimately rose to lead all AI/Autopilot software. Without him and our awesome team, we would just be another car company looking for an autonomy supplier that doesn’t exist,” Musk tweeted, adding that he had no prior knowledge of Elluswamy’s note until he saw it ten minutes earlier.

Elluswamy, in a detailed note, praised Musk’s visionary leadership in AI and autonomy at Tesla. He recounted the challenging early days of the autopilot project in 2014 when it began on a minuscule computer with only ~384 KB of memory. Despite scepticism from many, Musk pushed the engineering team to achieve remarkable goals, leading to the launch of the world’s first Autopilot system in 2015.

By 2016, Tesla had shifted to in-house development of all computer vision required for Autopilot, a move that many considered overly ambitious. Yet, the team succeeded within eleven months, laying the groundwork for Tesla’s strong AI capabilities.

Elluswamy also highlighted Musk’s commitment to developing powerful AI hardware. In 2017, Tesla began creating custom silicon to efficiently run neural networks, with the resulting hardware coming into production in February 2019 and remaining competitive to this day.

Musk’s decision to rely on vision and AI for autonomy, rather than sensor crutches and high-definition maps, was initially ridiculed by industry experts. However, Tesla has since proven its detractors wrong by shipping millions of cars equipped with supervised Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology, capable of handling complex city driving tasks.

Elluswamy credited Musk with kickstarting the development of humanoid robots at Tesla in 2021, ahead of the rise of AI exemplified by tools like ChatGPT. He concluded by emphasizing Musk’s unparalleled technical intuition and perseverance, which have positioned Tesla as a leader in real-world AI. Without Musk’s ambition, Tesla might have remained just another car company.

Elon Musk congratulated Indian-origin Ashok Elluswamy, the first person hired for Tesla’s autopilot team.

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AIElluswamyElon MuskTDGTeslaThe Daily Guardian