Apple Hires Tesla's Autopilot Software Director for its Secretive 'Apple Car' Project
【Summary】The latest high-profile hire for the Apple Car project dubbed “Project Titan'' comes from Tesla, Bloomberg has reported. Apple has hired Christopher “CJ” Moore to work on the software for its self-driving car project, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Moore was in the spotlight earlier this year after remarks he made about the capabilities of Tesla’s Autopilot autonomous driving feature.
Computer giant and iPhone maker Apple Inc. has been working on its electric "Apple Car" project since at least 2017. CEO Tim Cook referred to the effort as the "Mother of all AI projects". But so far, the company has managed to keep its work on the project a closely-guarded secret.
However over the past few years, Apple has hired some industry veterans to help the company with its plans, which indicates that the project is ongoing. The latest high-profile hire to the Apple Car project dubbed "Project Titan'' comes from Tesla, Bloomberg has reported.
Apple has hired Christopher "CJ" Moore to work on the software for its self-driving car project, according to people with knowledge of the matter that spoke to Bloomberg. Moore is reporting to Stuart Bowers, Former VP of Engineering at Tesla who joined Apple at the end of last year. Bowers led Tesla's Autopilot team before departing the company in August 2019.
Moore was in the spotlight in May after remarks he made in March about the capabilities of Tesla's Autopilot autonomous driving feature were uncovered.
During a Tesla earnings call in January, Chief Executive Elon Musk wrote in a tweet that he was highly confident that Tesla vehicles will be able to "drive themselves with reliability in excess of humans" by the end of the year. But Musk's tweet did not reflect the view of Tesla's own engineering team, documents confirmed.
After an early March conference call with Tesla representatives and the California DMV, Moore downplayed Musk's claim and wrote in a memo to the DMV that "Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality."
Now Moore joining the Apple car development team means that the company is indeed up to something major. However, Apple has never publicly shared its plans to build an electric and self-driving car. The only clues are the industry veterans that have joined or departed the project.
In September, Ford Motor Company announced it hired industry veteran Doug Field as its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer. Field joined Ford from Apple, where he served as VP, Special Projects, which was rumored to include Project Titan. Prior to joining Apple, Field was Senior Vice President of Engineering at Tesla.
In June 2018, Apple poached Jaime Waydo, a senior self-driving car engineer from Waymo. However Waydo departed Apple in February.
In Dec. 2020, reports said that Apple was in talks with automaker Hyundai Motor Co to build its Apple Car, but those discussions ended in February with no deal being struck with Hyundai's Kia brand.
Then in February, Bloomberg reported that Apple was in talks with multiple lidar developers to supply the sensors for its Apple Car project. According to the report, Apple had already assembled a team of hardware engineers to develop electric drive systems, external vehicle body designs, as well as an interior for the Apple Car.
In July, LG Electronics finalized its new joint venture agreement with automotive supplier Magna International Inc. to develop e-powertrains and other components for electric vehicles. The new joint venture company is named "LG Magna e-Powertrain" and is based in Incheon, South Korea.
The new joint venture was linked in April to computer giant Apple Inc's secretive electric car project, which Apple CEO Time Cook called the "Mother of all AI projects."
The Korean Times reported at the time that Apple was "very near" to inking a deal with LG Magna e-Powertrain to build its futuristic Apple Car. Those plans remain unclear.
Apple's electric car will reportedly have self-driving capabilities and be powered by AI.
Over the years, Apple's test vehicles were spotted driving around Silicon Valley near its headquarters and the company was granted an autonomous vehicle test permit in California, so it appears that Apple is up to something big.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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