Prominent ex-Tesla self-driving car exec leaves Apple for greener pastures

A building at Apple Park, the company's Cupertino, California, HQ.
Enlarge / A building at Apple Park, the company’s Cupertino, California, HQ.

Apple

Apple has reportedly been working on self-driving car technology since 2014, but it has faced a series of prominent employee departments over the past year. As reported Wednesday by Bloomberg, the latest is CJ Moore, who had only just joined the company last August.

Before joining Apple, Moore was Tesla’s director of autopilot, where he worked on self-driving cars even as he contradicted Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s bold timeline for the project when speaking with California regulators. It’s unclear exactly what Moore’s work has been at Apple since joining the company.

In any case, he’s now moving to lidar company Luminar Technologies, which has been aggressively hiring prominent directors and executives from tech and automobile giants. At Luminar, Moore will lead the global software development for lidar-based features to ensure passengers’ safety in autonomous vehicles.

Bloomberg notes that “nearly the entire Apple Car management team” has left Apple over the past two years. The other notable departments included project lead Doug Field, who left to join Ford last year. Apple technology VP Kevin Lynch, who worked at Adobe before joining Apple in 2013, reportedly now runs Apple’s car project, which is internally dubbed Project Titan.

While much of Apple is focused on the iPhone and other products and services in its periphery, Project Titan is one of Apple’s two biggest efforts to develop a new product category that could be as successful and disruptive as the iPhone’s introduction.

The other effort is in mixed reality. Apple is reportedly working on VR and AR glasses, which recent behind-the-scenes reports claimed were partly born out of an acquisition of a company that made sensing technology for autonomous vehicles.

Both Project Titan and the mixed reality project have seen many bumps in the proverbial road, as is often the case for major new R&D projects in the tech frontier. Apple is said to be in the early stages of development for self-driving cars, but multiple recent reports have claimed that the company’s first mixed reality glasses are moving toward release.

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