Tesla Motors Inc., electric auto manufacturer, has recently announced the hiring of Chris Lattner into their fold, a former key Apple Inc. software engineer. Lattner has been brought on to lead their Autopilot software initiatives.
Autonews reported that Lattner announced had his departure from Apple within an online message the morning of Tuesday January 10th. He was with the technology giant for over ten years. He refrained to mention where he was headed, but that would all come to fruition later on in the day.
As the day progressed, Telsa made the formal announcement on their website blob, stating that Lattner had been appointed as VP of Telsa’s Autopilot software. No start date was confirmed and Telsa refused to add any more information than what was placed in their online message. Apple did not comment beyond what Lattner had posted in his message and confirmed his exit from the company.
This is a pretty big move (and win) for the electric auto maker, having a high-level figure from the software development industry enter the world of Telsa, in a role that was not a full-time one in the past. Previously, the company’s Autopilot was led temporarily by SpaceX’s Software Chief Jinnah Hosein, and also overseen by Elon Musk, the company’s CEO and head honcho.
Autopilot is the hardware/software system that enables Telsa’s cars to have autonomous driving at times, where a driver’s hands are required at the wheel. There are still ongoing investigations in the U.S. by federal safety regulators around Autopilot, wondering if the system was to blame when it came to a deadly Florida car accident in 2016.
Lattner’s achievements at Apple included the introduction of Swift, an innovation programming language that has made it easier for developers to write applications for the company’s operating system (iOS); which enables iPads and iPhones. Lattner also successfully led a movement to make the ‘open source’ programming language. This helped developers incorporate it into their apps, and not have to pay Apple with fees. This was a first for Apple, which had kept a tight hold on the technology they created in the past. Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft have now either contributed or published to ‘open source’.
Lattner had more recently held the title of senior director at Apple.