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Nvidia Hires Uber Executive, Targets Mobileye

Nvidia, the top seller of microchips essential to the development of self-driving cars, has hired Claire Delaunay, a co-founder of the self-driving trucking firm Otto that Uber acquired last year. The move is the latest in a hiring spree stretching back to last year, as Nvidia has recruited dozens of autonomous-vehicle software developers from Tesla, Baidu, Apple and others.

Ms. Delaunay is expected to join an effort focused on developing and marketing software applications that carmakers could use for both semi-autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles. After making optimistic promises in January about how quickly fully autonomous vehicles could be developed thanks to artificial intelligence powered by its chips, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has been more measured in recent public statements. Nvidia’s core business remains chips, but it hopes the future software applications for semi-autonomous features such as “traffic jam assist” or automated highway driving will displace market leader Mobileye, owned by Intel.

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The biggest problem, however, was a high-profile lawsuit filed by Google offshoot Waymo, alleging that Ms. Delaunay’s fellow co-founder, Anthony Levandowski, stole intellectual property from Waymo while starting Otto. Mr. Levandowski was fired from Uber, and another Otto co-founder, Lior Ron, moved to a different part of Uber. Ms. Delaunay couldn’t be reached for comment, and Uber didn’t have a comment on her departure.

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