Tesla Engineer Joins Apple - Apple's Car Expertise Continues to Leap

Apple has hired a senior engineer away from Tesla, adding to the considerable stable of engineering and management talent in Apple's car project. Mr. Jamie Carlson joins several others at Apple with expertise in self-driving technology.


According to Reuters, Jamie Carlson's LinkedIn profile reveals that he has left Tesla and moved to Apple recently.

It's fairly certain now, based on leaks, sources, and hiring that Apple has a special project, code named "Titan" devoted to car technology, but Apple has made no announcement. Speculation to date is uncertain about whether Apple is developing the technology for other companies or whether it intends to build and market its own branded electric car. However, most evidence to date suggests that Apple will build its own electric car, targeted for release in 2020.  Whether it will be self-driving at launch remains uncertain.

We know of several other notable hires this year by Apple who have experience with autonomous vehicles.

  • Megan McClain, Volkswagen engineer.
  • Vinay Palakkode, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Paul Furgale, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

This is not the complete list of hires. Others with that kind of expertise were hired in 2014. Also, executives with experience in manufacturing as well as battery technology have also been hired, according to TMO's Bryan Chaffin. "Apple Hires Auto Exec with Manufacturing Experience."

This apparent sweeping technology agenda of Apple's may well have some car manufacturers concerned that Apple can learn how to build a car faster than they can learn about advanced user interfaces, navigation, security and autonomous driving. See, for example, "German Car Makers Wary of Apple but Seeking Cooperation."

Finally, some have suggested that Apple simply acquire Tesla. But that's not Apple's way. The massive absorption of a different culture with a different vision is always a problematic, expensive, painful affair. Apple has shown, over and over, that its own unique vision, developed within the legacy of how Apple does things, with a smattering of outside expertise brought in, works out better in the long run.