Tesla hires Apple veteran, Chris Lattner to run its Autopilot software

Chris Lattner

Tesla Motors has hired long-serving Apple technologist Chris Lattner to operate its Autopilot self-driving vehicle software, at a time when the iPhone maker is refocusing its own automotive efforts on self-driving systems.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has set an enthusiastic target of end of 2017 to enable its automobiles to drive coast-to-coast throughout the US without any human control. The latest increase towards this goal comes after the death of a Tesla owner while utilizing Autopilot triggered an overhaul of its autonomous systems in 2016.

Chris Lattner spent over a decade at Apple, including as head of its developer tools unit for the last 5 years. The department, that includes over 100 staffers, has long played a vital role for Apple in assisting individuals both inside Cupertino and in the broader app designer community to compose software for iOS and its Mac computer systems, as well as more recent platforms such as Apple TV and its Watch.

Mr Lattner likewise pioneered the development of Swift, a recent programming language for iOS that was revealed in 2014 to help make it simpler to develop iPhone and iPad apps.

Tesla stated that Mr Lattner’s move would “accelerate the future of autonomous driving”. “Chris’ reputation for engineering excellence is well known,” Tesla stated in a statement on Tuesday.

The recruit has been seen as Tesla’s highest-profile hire from Apple since the automaker poached Doug Field, former head of Mac hardware engineering, in 2013 to run its auto programs. Field is now Tesla’s senior vice-president of engineering.

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