Some Tesla engineers are reportedly jumping ship to Elon Musk's AI startup

Some Tesla engineers are reportedly jumping ship to Elon Musk's AI startup
  • Tesla engineers are jumping ship to Elon Musk's AI startup, The Information reported.

  • Three engineers have left his electric car maker to join xAI, per the outlet.

  • The report follows Musk's drive to gain more control over Tesla's AI strategy.

Elon Musk's xAI appears to be poaching engineers from Tesla.

Three former engineers for the EV maker have moved over to the AI startup since it officially launched last summer, The Information reported on Wednesday.

Ethan Knight, a machine-learning scientist who formerly worked at Tesla, moved over to xAI last month, according to the AI company's website.

One former Tesla employee told The Information that Knight had been overseeing the team working on computer vision for Tesla's self-driving technology.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours. However, after The Information article was published, Musk took to X to claim Knight was planning to move to OpenAI before choosing xAI.

Musk accused OpenAI of "aggressively recruiting Tesla engineers with massive compensation offers." He added he had been raising salaries for those on Tesla's AI engineering team in response.

While Big Tech companies are fighting it over a small pool of top AI talent, Musk has also recently been gunning for more control of Tesla's AI strategy.

In a January X post, the billionaire said he would feel "uncomfortable" expanding the EV company's AI and robotics capabilities without controlling a quarter of the voting bloc.

Musk added that the voting power would make him "influential," but could still be outvoted on major decisions.

He said he'd prefer to "build products outside of Tesla" if he didn't have sufficient control.

The blunt comments were seen as an ultimatum and unnerved some investors. At the time, Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said Musk's comments sparked a "firestorm."

Longtime Tesla bull Ross Gerber called Musk's comments bizarre and amounting to "blackmail" of Tesla's investors.

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