A Veteran Tesla Engineer Leaves To Improve The Vision Of Embark's Self-Driving Trucks

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Embark co-founders Alex Rodrigues, left, and Brendon Moak with their fleet of autonomous semi-trucks at the startup's operations center in Ontario, California. Embark Trucks, a robotic tech upstart led by two young Canadian computer scientists, hired a key member of Tesla's Autopilot team to help its self-driving trucks better see and understand their surroundings and highway conditions. Zeljko Popovic, an engineer with a background in robotics who joined Tesla over six years ago and created and ran the Perception Team for Autopilot, is now Perception Lead for San Francisco-based Embark, the company said. He'll report to Embark CTO Brandon Moak and focus on boosting the accuracy and distance at which the cameras, radar and laser lidar sensors on its semi-trucks detect other vehicles, as well as leading mapping, localization and machine learning efforts. "Self-driving perception systems need huge amounts of data to train their machine learning algorithms, which means gathering high-quality data is key for Embark's perception team," said CEO Alex Rodrigues.