GM Cruise nabs former Apple car exec for autonomous car safety chief role

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in General Discussion

A former Apple executive linked to the Apple Car has joined General Motors Cruise, becoming the chief of its self-driving taxi unit.

Steve Kenner [Kodiak]
Steve Kenner [Kodiak]



Steve Kenner became the chief of safety at the GM autonomous vehicle unit on Monday, the company announced. The move makes Kenner the head of all safety at the self-driving vehicle arm of the motor company.

This is not Kenner's first safety role, as he has previously worked in the same field elsewhere. The most previous position he was in was as the vice president of safety at Kodiak, the self-driving truck company.

Kenner has previously worked at other major firms, including Uber, Aurora, and Apple. While at Apple, he was an executive in charge of safety and regulatory activities for the Special Projects Group, an arm that reportedly handled the development of the long-rumored Apple Car.

At one point in 2018, as director of product integrity for Apple, Kenner talked to the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss Apple's autonomous car program. In 2016, he wrote to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on behalf of Apple, proposing a policy update to help companies test self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Since leaving Apple, Kenner joined Uber's Advanced Technology Group, before taking the Kodiak role.

This isn't Kenner's first time at GM, as he started his career at the automaker as an engineer.

"Safety requires that every team within a company work together to put passengers and other road users first," said Kenner in a statement about the job change. "That partnership must include regulators, and I look forward to earning their trust."



Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    I guess in this industry there can be no surprises. GM now know exactly what Apple is up to, while the rest of us don’t. Soon the rest of us might as no one at GM will be fired for gossiping about Apple. 
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Will he find a way to protect their taxis from angry crowds?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 5
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,341member
    If there ever was a serious project to build an “Apple Car” (or just design one to license to actual carmakers) — it’s dead. This is just the latest in a string of “automotive” Apple execs to leave the company.

    If Apple had dreams of actually producing its own autonomous car, they would have had to start building the facilities to produce one and the distribution network to deliver them roughly a decade ago — and that would have required extensive federal paperwork.

    On the other hand, if Apple was just building a “demonstration” car to show off various Apple technologies (like extended CarPlay, which we know exists) to license to real carmakers, all you’d need is a garage and proving ground for safety/viability testing. Which they do, in fact, have.

    My own personal guess, given the existence of motherboards for autonomous vehicles one guy is literally being prosecuted for stealing, is that THAT was Apple’s real aim — creating a system for self-driving vehicles that could be licensed, along with the other Apple tech, to focus on the driver-passenger experience and amplify the iPhone connection to the car.

    It apparently went nowhere, so I think Apple’s basically given up and is sticking to second-gen CarPlay, which will be reasonably successful (and beloved by car buyers).
    byronlcg27watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 5
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,661member
    "I worked on the Apple Car!"

    "Prove it!"

    "Ummmm..... It's a secret!"
    byronlcg27watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 5
    chasm said:

    My own personal guess, given the existence of motherboards for autonomous vehicles one guy is literally being prosecuted for stealing, is that THAT was Apple’s real aim — creating a system for self-driving vehicles that could be licensed, along with the other Apple tech, to focus on the driver-passenger experience and amplify the iPhone connection to the car.
    Absolutely not. They were never going to build a ROKR Car. They'd want to own the whole stack. Hence the myriad patents pertaining to physical aspects of a vehicle for like 8 years now.
    watto_cobra
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