The bumpy, pothole-filled road to Apple Car continues, with Bloomberg claiming Wednesday that Apple has “lost multiple top managers of its self-driving car team” in recent months.
The company reportedly has hundreds of engineers working on self-driving software, along with multiple groups of employees working on a physical vehicle. However, multiple managers on the project have thrown in the towel this year alone. That’s never a great look.
Bloomberg notes that:
“In recent days, Dave Scott, who led teams working on robotics related to the car, left to become the chief executive officer at Hyperfine, a health care company developing next-generation MRI systems.
Before Scott’s departure, Jaime Waydo, who led autonomous car safety and regulation teams, departed to become the chief technology officer at Cavnue, a startup focused on the safety of autonomous cars on public roads.
In February, Benjamin Lyon, who helped create Apple’s original car team several years ago and was key in the future project’s development, left to become the chief engineer at Astra, a company developing technology for sending satellites to space.”
The bumpy road to Apple Car
When you’re a company the size of Apple, with around 147,000 employees, a certain percentage moving on on any given day — let alone year — isn’t all that remarkable. Add in the fact that high level employees are going to be sought-after, plus the pressure of working on a project like this, and you’ve got a recipe for employee turnover.
But even so Apple Car seems to have been a tumultuous project. There have been comings and goings, and it’s still not clear what path Apple is ultimately taking with the project. The best bet is that it’s teaming up with a contract manufacturer to build a physical car, although that could change. At various times, Apple has seemingly pulled back on this ambition, before returning more strongly to the idea of creating its own vertically integrated vehicle.
Bloomberg additionally puts a dampener on some of the more ambitious Apple Car timelines. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said, in 2018, that he expects Apple to introduce an autonomous vehicle between 2023 and 2025. Other reports have bandied around 2024 as a date. Today’s report suggests that an Apple Car is “unlikely to launch until later this decade” at the earliest. But it notes that Apple is continuing to “actively” recruit car industry experts at present.
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