Apple hires former NASA and Tesla workers for driverless car project

by SpeedLux
Apple car concept

Apple has employed former NASA staff members, robotics professionals and ex-Tesla staffers to establish part of its driverless vehicle groups, according to official documents launched to two media outlets.

On Friday, WSJ and Business Insider observed a permit that was released to Apple by Californian officials which gave the company permission to test autonomous cars. The license consisted of names of 6 Apple workers that are designated as “driver/operators” of the driverless vehicles.

The names were expected to be redacted, as per the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), however both news agencies released the names on Monday.

Searches online shows that these current Apple workers have had previous experience at space firm NASA, electric automaker Tesla and in the robotics market, something that Apple is hoping will enhance its efforts in the driverless automobile space.

Apple has been tight-lipped on its driverless vehicle efforts. At one point there were reports that the project had been downsized. But new developments reveal the U.S. firm is still concentrating on the innovation as it aims to challenge present automakers, in addition to competing technology firms like Google who has its own autonomous vehicle program via its spin-off company Waymo.

Apple’s name was contributed to a list of companies that have secured an authorization to test self-driving vehicles in California. And the license shows Apple’s essential hires.

On the list, one name is Shilpa Gulati whose LinkedIn profile tells about her as an “experienced roboticist” who is dealing with “special projects at a Silicon Valley company”. Apple is not mentioned on her LinkedIn page. In the job description for this function, Gulati describes how she built a company of “30 world class researchers and engineers” and has been dealing with this since March 2015.

Another staffer named Jeremy Ma is a software engineer at Apple’s special projects group and has actually been working there since March 2015. Prior to that, Ma was at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Victor Hwang and Paul Herbert, 2 more named on the DMV permit, were likewise both ex-NASA staff members. Another name on the list is Christopher Gadda, who is an ex-Tesla staffer.

It’s most likely that Apple is in the early stage of checking its automobiles considered that the business hasn’t spoken much about it publicly. An Apple spokesperson was not readily available for remark when called by CNBC.

Apple’s hires will be key in enhancing its efforts in the self-driving vehicle area in the middle of stiff rivalry and could assist it overtake rivals that appear further ahead in advancement. It’s uncertain whether Apple is establishing both the hardware and software for driverless vehicles, or simply an operating system that other automakers might use.

The Cupertino-based titan has never ever publicly validated work on a self-driving car however a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offered the clearest indicator of its interest in the area.

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