Apple's Swift software guru hits the road with Tesla

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Credit: Tesla Motors

Quick, what does Tesla have in common with Apple?

Personnel, apparently. A high-profile employee is leaving Apple for Tesla, going from one prominent role to another. 

In IT Blogwatch, we hit the road.

So what is going on? Ina Fried has the background:

The head of Apple’s Swift programming language is leaving the company...Chris Lattner said that he was stepping aside as project lead for Swift as he prepares to leave the company later this month.
...
Apple introduced Swift in 2014 as a...way to write apps for Apple devices and...released the software into the open-source community in 2015...Lattner has been at Apple since 2005.

But did he say where he was going? No, but it didn't take long for someone to spill the beans. Chris Duckett has the details:

The mystery over where programming language aficionado Chris Lattner would be heading after...Apple lasted mere hours, with Tesla announcing his recruitment.
...
Lattner will serve as Tesla's vice president of Autopilot Software...In October, Tesla announced that it would be adding...hardware to all of its vehicles to allow self-driving functionality.

So what does this mean for Tesla? Stephen Nellis is in the know:

The move is a...win for Tesla, bringing a high-profile figure in...software development for a position that previously did not have a full-time leader. Tesla's Autopilot was overseen on an interim basis by the software chief Jinnah Hosein of SpaceX, which is...headed by Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk.

And do we know why Lattner is leaving Apple? He didn't say, but Mikey Campbell has a theory:

Lattner's departure...comes as Apple abandons its own efforts to build a...self-driving car...Apple's automotive initiative was initially expected to bear an electric autonomous vehicle in 2019 or 2020, but the program reportedly fell apart in late 2015...Whether Apple's decision to move away from the development of a full-fledged autonomous vehicle played a role in Lattner's departure is unknown.

Anything else? Benjamin Encz has one question:

Really exciting. Will we see open source autonomous driving software?
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