Apple Hires Top Tesla Firmware Engineer for Car Team
Apple (AAPL) reportedly has spirited away a top senior engineer from electric car maker Tesla as the iPhone maker steadily builds out its team of experts working on its own electric automobile initiative code-named Project Titan.
Jamie Carlson, a Tesla firmware engineer since 2013, now is onboard at Apple working on software “special projects,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Reuters first reported Carlson’s move to Apple, making a total of at least nine software and systems engineers in the last year to join the vendor’s budding group of automobile experts.
A month ago Apple reportedly hired Doug Betts, former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV global quality leader, in an unspecified operations capacity. Betts, whose automobile industry background also includes Nissan and Toyota, left his Chrysler job last October, the day after a Consumer Reports study showing the reliability of the Chrysler brand had declined. Betts had been Chrysler’s top quality boss since 2009, soon after the car maker exited from bankruptcy.
In addition to Betts, Apple previously hired Paul Furgale, formerly deputy director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and a noted vehicle researcher.
Reuters reported that Apple’s lineup of car-automated experts includes Megan McClain, an ex-Volkswagen engineer, Vinay Palakkode, a former Carnegie Mellon University graduate researcher possibly working on automated driving research, and Xianqiao Tong, a former Nvidia (NVDA) engineer.
Earlier hires include Sanjai Massey, a former Ford engineer, Stefan Weber, an ex-Bosch engineer and Lech Szumilas, a former Delphi research scientist, the report said.
Apple’s electric car project reportedly is code-named Project Titan and is headed by Steve Zadesky, a 16-year Apple veteran who joined the company in 1999 to work on the iPod and later the iPhone. Zadesky, whose background includes a three-year stint as a Ford engineer, has the go-ahead to hire a 1,000 person team to work on the electric car, including recruiting Apple employees from other parts of the company, according to reports.
While Apple has yet to publicly acknowledge working on an electric automobile, what’s evident is the revenue opportunity it and others see to transform the automobile industry with mobile technology. At this point, it’s not clear if Project Titan includes self-driving technology.