Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward

Tesla Just Lost a Key Player on Its Maps Team

August 16, 2016, 7:37 PM UTC
Tesla Motors Inc. Tests Self-Driving Technology
Photograph by Bloomberg — Getty Images

Bill Chen, the now former head of the maps team at Tesla, has reportedly left after nearly two years.

Chen was the company’s senior engineering manager, and led the maps and navigation engineering efforts at Tesla, according to his LinkedIn page. After receiving his Ph.D. from Stanford, he spent over four years at Apple, (AAPL) on its mapping team before joining Tesla. Chen’s terms of departure are not currently available.

Chen was reportedly working on an autopilot-focused maps technology that would replace Google maps in Tesla vehicles, according to The Information. Tesla Maps are an integral part of its cars’ driving systems, so it’s not yet clear if his departure means more bad news for the car maker’s autonomous driving effort.

The company has been under heavy scrutiny after a driver died while using autopilot in a Tesla Model S, marking the first-ever fatality for an operator of a vehicle driving autonomously. The incident raised questions about the feature’s safety and led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open a probe into the software’s performance.


The controversies surrounding the fatality didn’t stop there. Tesla (TSLA) confirmed it knew about the fatal crash before a $2 billion stock offering but said it didn’t want to make the accident public before a federal investigation was announced. The company’s decision spurred questions over whether or not Tesla and regulators should have informed the public earlier.

Fortune has reached out to Tesla and will update the story if the company responds.