Apple has picked up another high profile engineer for its self-driving car project. The Information reports that the company has hired Jaime Waydo, an autonomous vehicle expert who previously worked at NASA, and was more recently a senior engineer at Google’s Waymo division.
Apple’s dream of producing driverless cars has moved forward, but not in the grandiose way it once hoped. The iPhone maker and Volkswagen are partnering to turn some of the German carmaker’s new T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for Apple employees.
Apple’s autonomous car project is an open secret in Silicon Valley. The latest update comes from a report on Jalopnik that asserts Apple is leasing the a proving ground previously owned by Fiat-Chrysler.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially confirmed in a WWDC interview with Bloomberg Television that his company is working on autonomous driving software. He wouldn’t say if there’s an iCar in the works though.
Apple was added to the list of 29 other companies, including Tesla, Google, Ford and Mercedes, that are testing or planning to test self-driving vehicles in the state of California, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’s (DMV) website Friday.
The permit allows Apple to test vehicles in autonomous mode on public roads.
It’s unclear if Apple sought to obtain a permit because it wanted to test-drive its own autonomous vehicles or if the company was simply looking to experiment with the rumored autonomous driving features in a future CarPlay version.
Earlier this year, Apple poached Alexander Hitzinger, the former technical director of Porsche’s race car program who helped the car maker return to the Le Mans endurance race, a company source told Reuters last Friday. The move was first reported by Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Volkswagen-owned Porsche officially confirmed Hitzinger had left the luxury carmaker in the spring, but didn’t share any further information.