Key Tesla executive joins self-driving car rival Waymo

San Francisco: Electric car maker Tesla’s key safety representative Matthew Schwall has quit the company to join rival Waymo owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, the media reported.

 Schwall, “who was the company’s main technical contact with US safety investigators, has left for rival Waymo LLC, according to people familiar the decision”, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.This comes at a time when the car maker is grappling with multiple crash investigations, including a “Model X” crash that put it at odds with the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) over its disclosures.

Schwall, who had been the director of field performance engineering at Tesla, exited the company amid the NTSB probe into multiple crashes involving the electric vehicles, the report added.

 Schwall’s exit reportedly coincides with the company’s announcement that Doug Field — Tesla’s engineering chief — was taking a leave.Despite the timing, Schwall’s exit is not believed to be tied to Autopilot issues the electric car maker is reportedly facing, according to Engadget.

The key executive’s departure could, however, complicate the situation and Tesla may now have to reestablish some of its links with safety officials.

“It is also a symbolic blow for a company that prides itself on being a self-driving pioneer,” the report added.

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