Panasonic will invest more than $256 million in a new york production facility of Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors to make photovoltaic cells and modules, deepening a partnership of the two companies.
SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk famously called Apple a “Tesla graveyard” where his failed employees go to toil.
That was a nifty bit of Musk-esque verbal sparring in what is a growing talent war between the tech titans. But it seems he’s now robbing the graveyard.
In a blog post Tuesday, Tesla announced that it was hiring 11-year Apple veteran Chris Lattner, an engineer who was primarily responsible for creating Swift, the programming language for building apps on Apple platforms. Lattner will take the wheel of Autopilot, Tesla’s self-driving car program.
Lattner takes over for Jinnah Hosein, Musk-owned 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,” according to the post.
The move comes at a time when a growing number of automakers (from Audi to Volvo), tech companies (including Uber and much-rumored Apple) and suppliers (Nvidia, Intel, Mobileye) are throwing dollars and bodies at accelerating the arrival of an autonomous car future.
Tesla currently equips all of its new Model S and X vehicles with an array of radar, laser and camera sensors that, Musk claims, can provide a fully autonomous experience for drivers.
That said, Autopilot’s current features are limited, and Musk has said that he plans to gradually roll out more self-driving capability as that technology proves itself in testing.
Apple has remained mum about its autonomous car plans. A variety of reports have suggested that the iPhone-maker’s automotive ambitions have shifted recently from building both the software and hardware for a vehicle to focusing instead on self-driving sensors and software that would then be used in an automaker’s product.
That’s always been the approach of Google, which is now seven years into its autonomous car project. Last spring, Google announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler to build 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans that would contain Google sensors and software. Those vehicles were announced with some fanfare Sunday at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
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