Tesla’s (TSLA) Top Self-Driving Car Expert Joins Apple (AAPL)

Apple (AAPL) appears to have hired one of Tesla’s top engineers as part of its effort to build a team of experts in automated driving. According to Reuters, Apple has hired Jamie Carlson to likely join its project ‘Titan’, a top secret Cupertino project which is rumored to revolve around developing a self-driving car. Carlson’s LinkedIn profile shows that he has left Tesla Motors (TSLA) and joined Apple. While at Tesla, Carlson worked on its Autopilot self-driving program. His role at Apple however, is simply listed as a a member of a special projects group.

Reuters also notes that at least half a dozen other individuals with experience developing self-driving technology and systems have also started working at Apple including Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen engineer working in automated driving, as well as Paul Furgale, a highly-regarded autonomous vehicle researcher in Switzerland. Last month, Apple hired Doug Betts, who led global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles until last year.

Apple is said to be developing a self-driving car, which CEO Tim Cook apparently green-lit a year ago, and this additional hire seems to be adding more fuel to speculation surrounding the tech giant’s rumored automotive ambitions. The iCar, as it will most likely end up being called, is said to look like a minivan. Reports claim that as many as 1,000 Apple employees are working in the project, including former employees of Tesla, NASA, and a large number of major automakers.

Most recently, it was reported that Cupertino is currently looking for secure locations near San Francisco in a bid to test out its vehicle, suggesting the project is moving forward quicker than initially expected.

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