Apple's self-driving car project hits another speed bump as engineering manager departs


In the latest edition of the Power On newsletter, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reports that Apple has lost another manager from its Project Titan self-driving car team. This is only the latest departure in what has been a revolving door environment for Apple.

According to Gurman, Joe Bass, who was the head of software engineering program management for Apple’s car team has recently left the company after seven years. Bass confirmed this change on in his LinkedIn page. Bass is now director of technical program management at… Meta.

Gurman writes:

With Bass’s departure, nearly the entire Apple car management team in place just one year ago is gone. Dave Scott, Jaime Waydo, Dave Rosenthal and Benjamin Lyon all left in early 2021. Doug Field, who ran the car team, headed for the exits in September. Michael Schwekutsch, who was in charge of hardware for Apple’s project, soon followed. Then top engineers bolted. Bass had reported to Field before moving under Kevin Lynch, the new head of Apple’s car team.

Gurman believes that 2022 is a “make-or-break year” for Apple’s Car project. In November, Bloomberg reported that Apple plans to release a self-driving EV as soon as 2025,

Apple is internally targeting a launch of its self-driving car in four years, faster than the five- to seven-year timeline that some engineers had been planning for earlier this year. But the timing is fluid, and hitting that 2025 target is dependent on the company’s ability to complete the self-driving system – an ambitious task on that schedule.

Bloomberg highlights that Lynch’s direction for Apple Car is not to simply match existing electric vehicles with self-driving features, but to leapfrog the EV market with a vehicle that can truly drive itself and its passengers.

For the past several years, Apple’s car team had explored two simultaneous paths: creating a model with limited self-driving capabilities focused on steering and acceleration – similar to most current cars from Tesla Inc. – or a version with full self-driving ability that doesn’t require human intervention. 

Under the effort’s new leader – Apple Watch software executive Kevin Lynch – engineers are now concentrating on the second option. Lynch is pushing for a car with a full self-driving system in the first version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

The problem here is that after this report, Apple lost more and more employees from this project. Now, we have to wait and see how it’s going to develop over the coming weeks and months.

Here’s everything you need to know aboutthe Apple Car project.

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