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Nvidia Poaches Tesla Self-Driving Software Exec

The merry-go-round of self-driving car talent continues. David Nistér, a top member of the team at Tesla developing semi-autonomous driving features, known as "autopilot," has decamped for Nvidia, a maker of microchips for self-driving cars. Mr. Nistér, who joined Tesla in 2015, is considered to be one of the best researchers in the field of "stereo vision," said one person familiar with his work.

Nvidia sells chips that can process sensor data as part of a self-driving system. It's also developing software for self-driving cars that is powered by its chips. At Nvidia, Mr. Nistér will be working on developing software to help customers make high-definition maps, which typically aim for centimeter-level accuracy for everything from lane markings to traffic signs, said a person familiar with the hiring. Such maps are a core part of self-driving systems.

Leadership in Tesla’s autopilot team has been in flux for months. In January, Tesla hired a new leader for autopilot engineering from Apple. The overall leader of Tesla's autopilot, Sterling Anderson, left Tesla to join a self-driving startup led by Chris Urmson. Tesla has sued Mr. Anderson and the startup for alleged theft of trade secrets and improperly recruiting engineers from Tesla.

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