Apple poaches senior self-driving engineer from Waymo

FAN Editor
Jaime Waydo, Lead Systems Engineer on Google's Self-Driving Car project, speaks to the media during a preview of Google's prototype autonomous vehicles in Mountain View, California
FILE PHOTO: Jaime Waydo, Lead Systems Engineer on Google’s Self-Driving Car project, speaks to the media during a preview of Google’s prototype autonomous vehicles in Mountain View, California September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

June 15, 2018

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Apple Inc has hired a senior self-driving car engineer from Alphabet Inc’s Waymo unit, Apple said on Friday, a sign that the iPhone maker maintains autonomous vehicle ambitions.

Apple hired Jaime Waydo, previously a systems engineer at Waymo, Apple said, confirming a report by tech news website The Information.

“We wish Jaime well in her next endeavor,” Waymo said in a statement.

Before joining Waymo, Waydo was a longtime engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, according to her LinkedIn profile. At Waymo, she oversaw systems engineering – the process of ensuring hardware and software work well together – and helped make key decisions about when to remove human safety drivers from the company’s test fleet in Arizona, The Information reported.

Apple has been tight-lipped about its efforts in the development of self-driving cars, although Chief Executive Tim Cook has called it “the mother of all AI projects.”

The company has not made public any products related to self-driving cars but has made a number of moves indicating that it has an interest in the technology.

It has obtained permits to test self-driving cars in California and published research about how self-driving cars could better detect pedestrians and cyclists.

In April, Apple said that it had hired John Giannandrea, who previously served as Google’s top artificial intelligence executive.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Bill Rigby)

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