Tesla appoints Apple’s Chris Lattner to lead its Autopilot technology

The move comes midst Federal safety regulators probing Tesla’s Autopilot’s role in a fatal crash in Florida in 2016.

Tesla has mentioned in a blog post that it has hired a software engineer from Apple Inc to oversee its efforts in the software of its self-driving Autopilot technology.

In an online message to Apple developers, Chris Lattner who worked at Cupertino for more than a decade, told his audience that he would “leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space”.

Later in the day, Tesla mentioned in a blog post that Lattner will be joining it as vice president of its Autopilot software. Tesla did not state when Lattner will be joining work.

When asked to respond to requests for comments, Tesla declined to comment beyond its stated announcement. While Apple confirmed Lattner’s departure it would however, not comment beyond Lattner’s posted message.

This significant development is important for Tesla since it means that its Autopilot software will now have a full-time leader. It was earlier overseen, on an interim basis, by Jinnah Hosein of SpaceX’s software chief.

SpaceX is also headed by Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk.

Tesla’s Autopilot is the integration of software and hardware in its vehicles which essentially provides the vehicle its self-driving capabilities. In some situations, the system still requires that drivers keep their hands on the steering wheel, in case the situation requires for human intervention.

This move to appoint a head for its Autopilot system comes when Federal safety regulators are examining whether Autopilot played a role in a fatal crash in Florida in 2016.

In Apple, Lattner, who worked as a senior director in the developer tools department, was best known for his role in introducing Swift, a programming language that makes it easier for developers to code apps for iOS powered devices such as iPhones and iPads.

In addition to this, Lattner was also well known for his “open source,” leanings. The move was a first at Apple, which has always preferred a tight control over its creations and technologies.


Categories: Creativity, Entrepreneurship, HR & Organization, Strategy, Sustainability

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