Apple Car Project Meta Poaches Engineering Manager
The Apple Car project may have lost another key team member as its head of software engineering leaves for Silicon Valley rival Meta (formerly known like Facebook).
As reported in Bloomberg Power-Up BulletinJoe Bass, who has served as senior engineering program manager for autonomous systems at Apple since January 2015, recently changed his job details. LinkedIn profile.
According to the update, Bass now works as the Director of Technical Program Management for Mixed Reality Technologies at Meta.
The departure is the latest in a long line of engineers who left Apple’s automotive arm towards the end of 2021. Apple executive Doug Field, for example, would have left the company for Ford in September last year, while senior project manager Michael Schwekutsch gone for electric plane start Archer Aviation in December.
But while it’s easy to draw a cynical conclusion from Apple’s high employee turnover rate, it’s unlikely to be rats abandoning a sinking ship. Instead, the move is more likely the result of changes in direction surrounding the Apple Car project.
In 2021, the company named former Apple Watch chief Kevin Lynch to lead its burgeoning automotive division, which was previously overseen by Apple AI boss John Giannandrea, who himself had replaced Bob Mansfield following the latter’s retirement in 2020.
It therefore follows that regime changes would lead to a higher rate of attrition within the company – a normal feature of any organization during transition periods.
Additionally, Apple has acquired several new high-level employees to work on the Apple Car project over the past few months. Former Tesla Autopilot software director Christopher Moore, for example, was recruited in November 2021 (per Bloomberg). He now reports to Stuart Bowers, another executive who moved from Tesla to Apple in 2020.
The most pressing issue for Apple and its vehicular vision remains its struggle to identify an automaker to partner with on the project.
With big names including Volkswagen, hyundai, KIA and Nissan already doomed to the “trial and failure” pile, the company continues to seek brands that can become a secondary supplier – similarly Foxconn is at Tesla – on a vehicle that would eventually bear the Apple name.
Given his failure to find a collaborator, however, more recent reports suggest that Apple may be willing to take on the entire Apple Car development process on its own, similar to the approach taken by Elon Musk’s Tesla.
This move towards in-house development would corroborate other recent complaints when it comes to Apple’s revamped focus on creating a truly innovative autonomous technology base the likes of which the automotive industry has never seen before.
Regardless of the current status of the Apple Car project, however, the high employee turnover rate surrounding it shouldn’t be a cause for concern – rather, it’s a sign that the wheels are finally moving on the long-awaited debut of the Apple Car. business.