The Tesla autonomous driving technology expert who recently joined Google will not be working on Google’s self-driving cars project, a person familiar with the matter tells Business Insider.
Robert Rose, who served stints at both Tesla and SpaceX, recently joined Google’s robotics division, sparking speculation that he was bringing his know-how to help accelerate the development of Google pod-shaped autonomous vehicles.
Self-driving cars, are after all, a form of robotic technology. And Rose’s background is ideal: He most recently led the “Autopilot” team at Tesla, where he helped launched the features that let the company’s new cars change lanes and steer themselves. He only stayed at Tesla six months.
But it appears that Rose, whose LinkedIn profile says he has been a software engineer at Google Robotics since November, will be working on other kinds of robots at Google.
While it’s still not clear exactly what product or project Rose will be doing at Google, a person familiar with the matter tells Business Insider that it will not involve self-driving cars.
Google’s robotics group is distinct from the self-driving car project, and it has been struggling with a leadership vacuum since former boss Andy Rubin left last year.
Known internally as Replicant, Google robotics division first came into the spotlight after it quietly acquired eight companies in 2013. The division is secretive and, according to sources, grappling with questions about how to achieve his ambitious vision of creating the first wave of “consumer products that interact with the physical world.”
Robert Rose spent more than five years at the rocket company, first leading software engineering for two of its ships and then becoming director of flight software, 9to5Google reports,
Between SpaceX and Tesla, Rose worked as a software engineer at a machine learning company Vicarious, experience that could influence his work at Google.