Tesla Motors Taps Into Apple Inc For An Autopilot Head; Big Step Forward For Tesla Vehicles

11 January 2017, 11:44 am EST By Ritwik Roy Mobile & Apps

On Tuesday, Tesla Motors revealed in a blog post that the electric car maker has hired a top Apple software engineer to supervise the Autopilot division and its self-driving software efforts. Chris Lattner, who has been with Apple for more than a decade, has now joined Tesla as the vice president of its Autopilot software. Tesla's new addition is a big step forward for the company as this particular position lacked a full-time leader.

According to Reuters, Lattner informed Apple on Tuesday morning via an online message that he is leaving Apple later this month to explore opportunities in another space but did not mention where he was headed to. On the same day, Tesla posted a message on its website informing about Lattner's new role. While Apple has confirmed Lattner's departure, Tesla has declined to comment beyond the message posted.

Up to now, Tesla's Autopilot division was headed on an interim basis by software chief Jinnah Hosein of SpaceX. Lattner, who will be heading the division from now on, is known for introducing the programming language Swift that made it easy for Apple developers to write apps for iOS. Most recently, he was the senior director in the developer tools department at Apple.

Lattner is also known for leading a push to make the programming language "open source." This allowed developers to incorporate it into their applications without the need to pay fees to Apple. This move was a first from Apple. It is expected that Lattner will be able to fine-tune Tesla's Autopilot feature further and make the vehicles fully autonomous.

In the US, Federal safety regulators are looking into a case where it is believed that the Autopilot led to a fatal crash. Moreover, Tesla is also struggling with production problems as it is repeatedly failing to meet production targets. Stay tuned on Mobile & Apps for more updates on Tesla Motors and its electric vehicles.

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