Tesla Motors co-founder Marc Tarpenning has joined the board of advisors for Kitchener, Ontario’s Clearpath Robotics, bringing his deep expertise in automotive innovation to bear on Clearpath’s domain of robotics and autonomous vehicles.
“We’re thrilled to have Marc on our advisory board and work with him on a regular basis,” said Clearpath Robotics CEO Matt Rendall. “Marc brings experience and insight that will help to guide our team as we accelerate the growth of our business and enter new markets with self-driving vehicle technology.”
While much of the public imagination on the issue of electric and autonomous vehicles has been captured by Tesla, most of the real action in the space will actually be accomplished by companies like Clearpath, supplying autonomous robots to factories or working in hazardous environments to do what the company refers to as “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs.
Marc Tarpenning is one of the legendary characters in the American technology scene, having been one of the co-founders of Tesla Motors, along with Elon Musk, J.B. Straubel, Ian Wright and Martin Eberhard, the other original co-founder.
In 1997, Tarpenning and Eberhard co-founded NuvoMedia, and created one of the first handheld digital book devices, the Rocket ebook, which was sold in 2000 to Gemstar-TV Guide for $187 million
At that time, Tarpenning and Eberhard brainstormed ideas while playing Magic: The Gathering.
Tesla Motors was Eberhard’s brainchild. In 2003, the company was born after Tarpenning registered the website “teslamotors.com” and incorporated the company.
Seeing the opportunities at the turn of the century for advancements in battery technology, the pair began working on bringing their ideas for electric vehicles to fruition.
Ian Wright was the next member of the team to come on board. Elon Musk invested in Tesla Motors in 2005 before eventually joining the company in 2007.
The Tesla Roadster was the first production automobile to use lithium-ion battery cells.
“Self-driving technology is clearly on the cusp of a major breakthrough. I’m happy to offer my assistance to Clearpath who, much like Tesla, has ambitious goals for making a meaningful impact on society,” said Tarpenning.
Since leaving Tesla Motors in 2008, Tarpenning now sits on the boards and serves in an advisory capacity for many companies and organizations.
He resides in Portola Valley, California.