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Tesla recruits Apple veteran to lead Autopilot car software programme

Tesla Motor’s director of autopilot programmes Sterling Anderson has reportedly left his job following the company’s appointment of a long time Apple executive to the division.

However, Tesla did not disclose the nature of Anderson’s departure, who had been with the company since 2015.

The exit was confirmed by people familiar with the matter, according to Bloomberg.

The California-based electric car maker has appointed Chris Lattner, who worked for Apple for 11 years, as vice president of its autopilot software.

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Tesla said in a blog: “Chris’s reputation for engineering excellence is well known.”

At Apple, Chris was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language

Chris Lattne
Chris Lattner, new Tesla recruit.

for building apps on Apple platforms and one of the fastest growing languages for doing so on Linux.

Before joining Apple, he was lead author of the LLVM Compiler Infrastructure, an open source umbrella project that is widely used in commercial products and academic research currently.

The electric car maker said: “We are very excited that Chris is joining Tesla to lead our Autopilot engineering team and accelerate the future of autonomous driving.

“As Chris joins Tesla, we would like to give a special thanks to Jinnah Hosein, SpaceX’s Vice President of Software, who has been serving a dual role as the interim Vice President of Tesla Autopilot Software and will now be heading back to SpaceX full-time.

“We would like to thank Jinnah for the efforts needed to achieve excellence in both roles, David Nister, our Vice President of Autopilot Vision, and the team for their exceptional work in advancing Autopilot.”

A change in management comes in the wake of a shift in Tesla’s focus to build full self-driving features for its electric cars.

In the past, Tesla also hired several senior level executives from Apple, including Doug Field, Tesla’s senior vice president for engineering, and Cindy Nicola, vice president of global recruiting.

Since October 2014, the company has been offering the Autopilot system on all its cars. Recently, it added a new feature to the hardware by including eight cameras and a dozen sensors.

On the other hand, Apple reportedly axed jobs in the autonomous vehicle division last year, deciding quit in its plans to build self-driving vehicles.

The technology giant had asked hundreds of members of the car team, which consists of about 1,000 people, to leave the company, while moving many to other divisions, people familiar with the project told Bloomberg in October last year.
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CBR Staff Writer

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