Apple has made a high-profile hiring for its Self-Driving Car Project; the company has hired Alphabet’s Jaime who previously worked as a senior engineer at Google’s Waymo. A spokesperson at Apple has confirmed the same but declined to provide more details about how the company is aiming at using the new appoint.
Waydo served as head of systems engineering at Google’s Waymo and former colleagues describe him as very “instrumental.” She was in charge of verifying the safety of Waymo’s prototypes and provided input on when it was safe enough to launch on-the-road tests in Phoenix in 2016. Going back in time, Waydo was a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for more than a decade before joining Waymo. At NASA she helped develop a rover vehicle that has driven on Mars.
Cut to the chase, Apple’s hiring of Waydo indicates that it might be progressing towards launching a prototype vehicle, but the report also says that the car project continues to suffer from a “lack of communication among teams.” Apple initially had many ambitious self-driving vehicles plans which also included a fully autonomous vehicle, but somehow those plans were scaled back and Apple shifted focus to autonomous driving software.
Apple has been testing the Lexus vehicles equipped with its autonomous driving software since April 2017. It also signed a deal with Volkswagen to use Volkswagen vans for its on-campus shuttle program called “PAIL.” With the company so far having no clear vision and stayed behind schedule, it needs to be seen how the new recruit will shape things up for Apple.