Apple Car project loses another executive six months after hire

Posted:
in General Discussion
An automotive engineer who worked on the Apple Car team has left the Cupertino tech giant just days over six months after the company hired him.

Apple Car illustration
Apple Car illustration


C.J. Moore has apparently left the iPhone maker to work at autonomous vehicle technology firm Luminar. Moore will be in charge of the company's global software development team, Luminar said in a press release.

Prior to leaving Apple, he served as the company's director of autonomous systems. Before joining the Cupertino firm in November 2021, he worked at Tesla.

Apple has long been rumored to be developing some type of autonomous vehicular technology, though rumors have changed between underlying software systems and an actual production car.

Turnover on the secretive endeavor, dubbed Project Titan, has been high. Apple's car team has reportedly seen shakeups, layoffs, changes in direction, and other issues since it started in 2014. Kevin Lynch, a veteran software executive of Apple, is the latest leader of the project.

Current rumors suggest that Apple is aiming to make a full electric vehicle, potentially slated for a launch sometime in the 2020s. The vehicle may not feature a steering wheel or traditional driving instruments, and could instead focus on fully autonomous driving.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,185member
    Eight long years of spinning it’s wheels.  Seems someone could have done a moon program in that time.  I suspect that it’s a simple lack of unifying vision.  No single leader to take it by the balls.  Jobs would have killed the project early on or driven it to completion.

    Do or do not.  There is no try.
    dk49ravnorodomCluntBaby92grandact73radarthekat
  • Reply 2 of 11
    JWSC said:
    Eight long years of spinning it’s wheels.  Seems someone could have done a moon program in that time.  I suspect that it’s a simple lack of unifying vision.  No single leader to take it by the balls.  Jobs would have killed the project early on or driven it to completion.

    Do or do not.  There is no try.
    Apple does not have a superior solution, just me too project. Jobs tried to find a solution to TV but was never able to. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 3 of 11
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,845member
    I don't think anyone can declare a research program dead just based on the purported departure of one middle manager from a Fortune 5 corporation.

    Note that CJ Moore is taking a VP position at Luminar which likely means more authority and responsibility at a smaller company.

    My guess is that he was unhappy with his role at Apple and started looking for new employment a few months after starting at Apple. He didn't even bother sticking with it for a year so it probably tossed away all of his RSUs before any of them vested.
    edited May 25 iOS_Guy80lolliverradarthekat
  • Reply 4 of 11
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 931member
    I'd be more concerned if the Apple Car engineers and scientists were leaving. 

    A manager? -- not so much. 
    radarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 5 of 11
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 6,119member
    JWSC said:
    Eight long years of spinning it’s wheels.  Seems someone could have done a moon program in that time.  I suspect that it’s a simple lack of unifying vision.  No single leader to take it by the balls.  Jobs would have killed the project early on or driven it to completion.

    Do or do not.  There is no try.
    Lynch is the leader of the project, not Moore. This guy was one of several directors, and for all we know he left for personal reasons that have nothing to do with the project itself.
    radarthekatpscooter63
  • Reply 6 of 11
    M68000M68000 Posts: 461member
    As a fan of Apple products,  i can’t let that jade my opinion on this rumored car project.   Apple makes great computers, phones and other tech.  But does that mean they know how to make a car? Or should?  I doubt there will ever be an Apple car.  Really good people who know how to design and make cars are already doing that somewhere and the chance of them going to Apple is just about zero.  Cars are not computers although some seem to think that because Apple makes computers it therefore can make cars.  What is the point of an Apple car?  I’m not getting it.  Why would Joe consumer be interested in an Apple car even if Apple had car people that are not computer people?  Nobody cares about an Apple car and apparently these fly by night employees do not either.  What is mighty Apple going to do that is not already being done in the auto industry or under development?  Sorry if I offend the fans,  but I am being realistic.  I myself have zero interest in an Apple car,  but I really like what Apple offers in the computer and phone space.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 11
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,832member
    If Apple wants into the car manufacturing space, they should make a non-autonomous car first. Figure out how to get that right, build some success, then add autonomy features later. The two versions could be developed simultaneously, with the self-driver planned for a much later deployment. Autonomous cars are not good enough yet and it seems likely that they won't be ready for decades. Not to mention mixing them with standard dumb cars is just not going to go well. Let's not forget all the millions of improvements and changes (and public expense) that will have to be made to all roads in order for these vehicles to be truly safe and successful. I'm 65 and I'l be long dead before autonomous cars reach true ubiquity. Companies will try, they will fail, people will get hurt/killed and then the manufacturers will try it all over again - repeat for a long time.

    muthuk_vanalingamsteve_jobsradarthekat
  • Reply 8 of 11
    welshdog said:
    If Apple wants into the car manufacturing space, they should make a non-autonomous car first. Figure out how to get that right, build some success, then add autonomy features later. The two versions could be developed simultaneously, with the self-driver planned for a much later deployment. Autonomous cars are not good enough yet and it seems likely that they won't be ready for decades. Not to mention mixing them with standard dumb cars is just not going to go well. Let's not forget all the millions of improvements and changes (and public expense) that will have to be made to all roads in order for these vehicles to be truly safe and successful. I'm 65 and I'l be long dead before autonomous cars reach true ubiquity. Companies will try, they will fail, people will get hurt/killed and then the manufacturers will try it all over again - repeat for a long time.

    A Fairytale Car anyone?   B)
  • Reply 9 of 11
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,845member
    welshdog said:
    If Apple wants into the car manufacturing space, they should make a non-autonomous car first. Figure out how to get that right, build some success, then add autonomy features later. The two versions could be developed simultaneously, with the self-driver planned for a much later deployment. Autonomous cars are not good enough yet and it seems likely that they won't be ready for decades. Not to mention mixing them with standard dumb cars is just not going to go well. Let's not forget all the millions of improvements and changes (and public expense) that will have to be made to all roads in order for these vehicles to be truly safe and successful. I'm 65 and I'l be long dead before autonomous cars reach true ubiquity. Companies will try, they will fail, people will get hurt/killed and then the manufacturers will try it all over again - repeat for a long time.

    Pretty much every one of your points is wrong and shows a total lack of familiarity with where this technology is today, where it has been and how/when it started.

    I will speak about autonomous driving research efforts in the USA since that's the market I am most familiar with.

    Waymo -- a division of Alphabet -- put prototype vehicles (with DMV permission) on the streets back in 2012; back then they were identified as "Google Self-Driving Car." At one point, they produced their own prototype vehicles, a cute bubble car with a joystick for the human operator that occasionally intervened.

    Waymo was followed by a slew other companies. Here in the USA, the primary concentration of the efforts are in the Mountain View and Sunnyvale area. There are probably thirty companies doing research on autonomous vehicles there and many of them have permission from the California DMV to test their vehicles on public roads (you can download the monthly reports from the DMV website) including pretty much all of the big traditional vehicle manufacturers. Even Ducati had a research office in Mountain View for a time.

    Most of these companies are in stealth mode but there are some that proudly emblazon their affiliation on the vehicles: Waymo, drive.ai (since acquired), Nuro, Toyota Research Institute.

    The autonomous cars being tested in California have a better safety record than human drivers despite being tested in initially very limited situations. The breadth of that testing has increased over the past decade. They aren't just being operated on sunny days anymore. Hell, I'd rather be behind an autonomous test vehicle than a snot-nosed 22-year old driving with their phone on TikTok or some 45-year old soccer mom distracted by Facebook.

    Note that many individual features: self-parking, emergency braking due to obstacles, lane guidance, etc. have already been deployed in consumer vehicles. It's not like all of these things need to be re-invented from scratch.

    Currently Waymo commercially operates an autonomous taxi service in Phoenix (Arizona).

    If you place an online order from a particular 7-Eleven in Mountain View, your order may be delivered by a Nuro autonomous vehicle. (Unsurprisingly alcohol and tobacco products are not eligible.) Nuro's vehicles are being tested in limited commercial (business-to-business) deliveries as well.

    Just because you don't see autonomous vehicles driving around in your neighborhood doesn't mean they're not around elsewhere. And I assure you that Mountain View-Sunnyvale isn't the only location on the planet where this technology is being trialed. If I recall correctly, Singapore is also a major market for testing this technology.

    Autonomous cars won't spring up like weeds overnight but more of them are on the road every day even if there isn't one directly in front of you. We are still some years away from seeing an autonomous vehicle parked in your neighbor's driveway or your building's parking garage but for sure commercial usage has already commenced.
    edited May 26 pscooter63
  • Reply 10 of 11
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,185member
    welshdog said:
    If Apple wants into the car manufacturing space, they should make a non-autonomous car first. Figure out how to get that right, build some success, then add autonomy features later. The two versions could be developed simultaneously, with the self-driver planned for a much later deployment. Autonomous cars are not good enough yet and it seems likely that they won't be ready for decades. Not to mention mixing them with standard dumb cars is just not going to go well. Let's not forget all the millions of improvements and changes (and public expense) that will have to be made to all roads in order for these vehicles to be truly safe and successful. I'm 65 and I'l be long dead before autonomous cars reach true ubiquity. Companies will try, they will fail, people will get hurt/killed and then the manufacturers will try it all over again - repeat for a long time.
    One must look at the larger picture when comparing those who get hurt/killed in automobile accidents.  According to the CDC 1.35 million people are killed on the roadway around the world each year.  We don’t have any data yet on the percentage of fatalities we might see with autonomous vehicles.  But anecdotal evidence suggests that percentage would be low compared to non-autonomous vehicles.  Every person killed in a Tesla on auto pilot is magnified by the media 10,000 fold compared to your typical automobile death.

    Personally, I think Apple‘s supposed attention to autonomous vehicles is missing the mark.  I would much rather they focus on vehicles that drivers want to interact with.  Apple’s industrial designers have an opportunity to radically rethink the controls of automobiles.  I see an Apple Car handing the driver more control over the vehicle and not less.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,063member
    To mpantone’s point… there’s also fully automated semi tractor-trailer rigs, hauling selected, very isolated routes in the western US… even as I write this.
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