For the last couple of years, Apple has been aggressively poaching engineers and other experts from automakers around the world for its secretive car project. But the Cupertino company has seen some high-profile departures in the last few months, prompting it to push the Apple car launch from 2020 to 2021. And the latest exec to leave Apple is the computer vision and navigation specialist Bart Nabbe.
Faraday Future, a mysterious electric vehicle startup backed by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, said in a statement that Bart Nabbe has joined Faraday Future as the director of strategic partnerships. Nabbe worked on Apple’s Project Titan between September 2014 and July 2016. He specializes in autonomous outdoor navigation, artificial intelligence and computer vision.
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Recently, Bob Mansfield took over as the head of the Project Titan. Mansfield has shifted focus to the development of an autonomous driving system, though he is not going to abandon the development of a full-fledged electric vehicle. Earlier this year, the Cupertino company also hired Dan Dodge, the former chief executive of QNX, to work on the car project.
Tim Cook hints at Apple car
Though Apple has never officially confirmed it, Tesla founder Elon Musk has called the Apple car an “open secret.” Last Saturday, Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped hints during an interview with the Washington Post that the company might indeed be working on a car project. Jena McGregor asked him, “There’s been a number of reports about Apple’s car project… it almost seems like an open secret. Why not say something about it?” Tim Cook responded, “I can’t answer a question about something we haven’t announced (laughs).”
Earlier in the interview, Tim Cook had said that Apple was the only company that could seamlessly integrate software, hardware and services “into an experience that’s an ‘aha’ for the customer. You can take that and apply to markets that we’re not in today.” The automobile market is where Apple can integrate software, hardware, and services into an awe-inspiring product. It’s also a market which Apple is “not in today.”