Tesla Loses Top Autonomous Driving Engineer To Apple


Tesla Motors’ top autonomous driving engineer has been poached by Apple, according to the Daily Mail. The iPhone maker has already hired many talented engineers, including many from Tesla, to work on its super-secret project Titan, sort of confirming its plans of building a car.

Apple developing a team for iCar?

Jamie Carlson is the latest Tesla employee to join Apple. his LinkedIn profile shows that he joined Apple this month and is working in a special projects group, in an unnamed position.

Carlson was working on Tesla’s autopilot self-driving car program as an engineer. Prior to this, he worked for Gentex Corp — a supplier based in Michigan — on automotive vision systems. He has also worked for L3 Communications as the principal engineer.

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In January, Apple hired two more engineers with very good profiles, though not from Tesla. First was Megan McClain, who has expertise in automated driving and is a former Volkswagen engineer. Another is Vinay Palakkode, who was a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, which is a very popular automated driving research center.

Tesla, Apple in a poaching war

Over the past few years, we have heard speculations about Apple’s plans to build an electric car. And we know, Apple has assembled a team to work on its new cars, including several members of that team who were poached from Tesla. During the Q1 2015 earnings call, Tesla CEO Elon Musk commented on the poaching war between the two and Apple’s alleged electric car plans. On Apple’s plan to enter the electric car business, Musk said he “hopes” Apple will enter the car market, and if it happens, it will be really “great.” Earlier this year, Musk made similar comments while addressing reports that it had been approached by Apple for a potential acquisition.

In May, addressing the ongoing poaching war, Musk said there is nothing of the sort of a war, but Tesla would be the winner if there was. Musk further informed investors and analysts that no major attrition of engineers has taken place from Tesla to Apple. Rather, Tesla has hired five times the number of employees hired by Apple from Tesla.