Volkswagen poaches Alexander Hitzinger from Apple's "Project Titan" team for self-driving ...

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Volkswagen has poached an Apple executive for its commercial vehicles division, with the hiring of Alexander Hitzinger also working on the manufacturer's self-driving vehicle efforts after a stint on Apple's "Project Titan" car program.

Volkswagen T6 Transporter, a van thought to be used in Apple's PAIL self-driving project
Volkswagen T6 Transporter, a van thought to be used in Apple's PAIL self-driving project


Hitzinger's role will be the director responsible for technical development at Volkswagen's commercial vehicles division, the company confirmed, and will be taking responsibility for company-wide efforts for self-driving vehicles. He will also be working on "Mobility as a Service," which covers ride-hailing, car pooling, and shuttle services, and could be a natural extension for self-driving vehicles.

The appointment was made by Thomas Sedran, chief executive of the commercial vehicles division, reports Reuters, and has taken place with immediate effect.

Before joining Volkswagen, Hitzinger was believed to be working on Apple's "Project Titan," a program that is thought to have changed focus from creating an entire vehicle to just the self-driving vehicle element. It is believed Hitzinger first joined Apple in the spring of 2016, meaning he spent close to three years with the company.

Before working for Apple, Hitzinger was working at Porsche as its race program lead, bringing the manufacturer back to endurance racing, assisting in the development of the 919 hybrid sports car. Before Porsche, he was the technical director of the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team and head of advanced technologies at Red Bull Technology.

Despite the departure, it is likely there is some crossover between his old role at Apple and his new position at Volkswagen. The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,523member
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 211unconfirmed, member
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    mdriftmeyer
  • Reply 3 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,699member
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    Apple has test cars driving in public. 
  • Reply 4 of 17
    gatorguy said:
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    Apple has test cars driving in public. 

    I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Tesla “beta testing”
    their autonomous features on consumers. Are you aware of how many software updates that system has had and the changes in operation there have been?

    Also pretty sure Apples test cars have human drivers to take over in case of an issue. 
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Stop printing "poaches."  Use "hires" or "recruits."  There is nothing nefarious about hiring a person with the skills you need.
    SpamSandwichStrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,070member
    Stop printing "poaches."  Use "hires" or "recruits."  There is nothing nefarious about hiring a person with the skills you need.
    I think 'poaches' is fine here as would be your alternatives but given the three options I would probably go for 'poaches'.

    If he had been between jobs I would have probably flipped a coin between 'hires' and 'recruits' but 'poaches' reflects the 'persuaded to switch companies' angle, which I am assuming to be the case. If he had sought out a post at Volkswagen on his own initiative then perhaps I would have chosen a different approach, though.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 17
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,415member
    “Now, Mr. Hitzinger... tell us everything you know.”
  • Reply 8 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,070member
    “Now, Mr. Hitzinger... tell us everything you know.”
    LOL! That flashed through my mind too and brought back memories of the scientist Apple hired (ex-IBM?) years ago who was contractually required not to participate in work on chip design or something similar.
    edited January 9 cornchipmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 17
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,070member
    I imagine Alexander Hitzinger will be spending a lot of time working with Ford due to the deeper alliance being announced any day now between Ford and VW. Both companies are already cooperating in commercial vehicles but it sounds like the new global alliance will be with autonomous cars as well. 
  • Reply 10 of 17
    Apple should buy VW.
    cornchip
  • Reply 11 of 17
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,153member
    Apple should buy VW.
    Hah! Wouldn’t that be something!
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,518member
    Apple should buy VW.
    They’d have to much legacy to get rid of, such as its existing customer base. 
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,518member
    gatorguy said:
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    Apple has test cars driving in public. 

    I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Tesla “beta testing”
    their autonomous features on consumers. Are you aware of how many software updates that system has had and the changes in operation there have been?

    Also pretty sure Apples test cars have human drivers to take over in case of an issue. 
    They do indeed. Sometimes they have two: one to watch the car and the road, the other to record stuff. 


    edited January 10
  • Reply 14 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,518member

    gatorguy said:
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    Apple has test cars driving in public. 
    So has Google. 
  • Reply 15 of 17
    Apple should buy VW.
    They don’t really need the IP on innovations such as emissions testing or supply chain practices. If they needed to know how (to understand the competition), they could assign it as a coffee break discussion to their worst performing employees to figure it out.
    edited January 10
  • Reply 16 of 17
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,699member
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    k2kw said:
     The two companies are apparently working together on PAIL, a project where the Volkswagen T6 Transporter van will be used to shuttle Apple employees between Silicon Valley offices, in a self-driving capacity.
    This is about as self driving as cars on tracks at a Disney ride.
    Baby steps.

    This is better than getting on the freeway and driving in public like some cars have.
    Apple has test cars driving in public. 

    I’m pretty sure he’s referring to Tesla “beta testing”
    their autonomous features on consumers. Are you aware of how many software updates that system has had and the changes in operation there have been?

    Also pretty sure Apples test cars have human drivers to take over in case of an issue. 
    They do indeed. Sometimes they have two: one to watch the car and the road, the other to record stuff. 


    I had thought Apple had already applied for their fully-autonomous permit in California (some others have) but you're right AFAICT. No record of them having done so yet as of the January (thru Dec)  state report. 
  • Reply 17 of 17
    colinng said:
    Apple should buy VW.
    They don’t really need the IP on innovations such as emissions testing or supply chain practices. If they needed to know how (to understand the competition), they could assign it as a coffee break discussion to their worst performing employees to figure it out.

    Sure they can. How’d that work out for Tesla? Oh right. Long delays getting production up, horrible build quality and poor manufacturing tolerances.

    Ask any certified Tesla body shop what it’s like trying to repair a car when no two are alike? Even a dirt-cheap Chevy is put together better.
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