Apple hasn’t been so articulate about its electric car project, but according to Bloomberg, the iPhone maker is hiring Tesla’s Autopilot software engineer to work on its electric vehicles. Sources familiar with the matter said Bloomberg that Apple has recruited Christopher “CJ” Moore to work on its autonomous driving software. He will report to Stuart Bowers, another Tesla expat who was previously VP of Engineering.
While at Tesla, Moore sparked controversy for calling CEO Elon Musk’s claims about “fully autonomous driving” exaggerated. In January, Musk said he was “very confident that the car will be able to perform with greater reliability than humans this year.” The full autonomous driving software, currently in beta, does not make a Tesla vehicle fully autonomous, as a driver must maintain control of the vehicle at all times.
Moore pointed out that Tesla is currently at Level 2, referring to the vehicle’s level of range – Level 2 means the car still requires driver supervision, while Level 5 means full range. Moore has since been called as a witness to Tesla’s fiery April crash that left two people dead. Initial reports suggested there was no one in the driver’s seat, but the National Transportation Safety Board said last month its investigation showed the driver’s seat was occupied in the incident.
Apple’s electric car project, codenamed Project Titan, remains shrouded in secrecy. We do know, however, that Apple has hired EV experts from other companies, especially Tesla.
After Ford hired Apple Automotive Project Manager Doug Field, Apple replaced him with former Adobe CTO and Apple Watch Director Kevin Lynch. Apple also hired Ulrich Kranz, the co-founder of Canoo who helped BMW on its i3 and i8 programs. Apple previously hired Tesla designer Andrew Kim, as well as Tesla drive systems expert Michael Schwekutsch and vice president of car interiors and exteriors engineering Steve MacManus.