As reported by Bloomberg late on Friday, Apple has hired away Tesla’s former Autopilot software director Christopher Moore. Bloomberg says Moore will report to Stuart Bowers, another former Tesla employee.
Apple has been not-so-quietly working on a self-driving electric car project for more than five years, codenamed Project Titan. The group has seen much leadership turnover with reports claiming Apple keeps shifting the goalposts on what it wants to achieve.
Moore’s tenure at Tesla was somewhat controversial, as he would often rebut claims made by CEO Elon Musk about Autopilot’s performance. For instance, Moore told the DMV that Musk’s repeated claims that Tesla could reach Level 5 autonomy within a couple of years was unrealistic.
The current state of Apple’s self-driving software stack remains very much unclear. Apple runs a small test fleet of prototype autonomous vehicles in California. The system is believed to rely on video cameras and LiDAR radars to sense the surrounding environment.
For a while, Apple was focusing solely on autonomous driving software. However, around 2019, it is understood that Apple had once again set its sight on building an actual vehicle. It has hired away various high-profile execs from other automakers, including Porsche’s chassis development vice president earlier this year.
However, Project Titan suffered a major setback earlier this year as former lead Doug Field departed Apple for Ford. Apple is supposedly set to partner with an assembly partner who will actually build the vehicle based on Apple’s design. In June, Apple was reportedly seeking a manufacturer for the Apple Car’s batteries.
Key iPhone assembler Foxconn has shown interest in becoming a car contract company, so there is rife speculation that Apple and Foxconn may also team up on the car. At the earliest, you shouldn’t expect to see an actual Apple Car materialize until 2025, almost a decade since the Project Titan began. Who could have guessed that building a car takes time.
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