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Apple poaches top Waymo engineer to catch up in the self-driving car race

Apple poaches top Waymo engineer to catch up in the self-driving car race
[Photo: courtesy of Waymo]

Apple has reportedly hired one of Waymo’s top engineers to work on its secretive self-driving car project Titan. According to The Information, the tech company poached former Waymo head of systems engineering Jaime Waydo, whose role at Waymo was focused on making sure software and hardware worked together in the name of safety.

Apple, which is famed for its hardware, has historically struggled with software. Think of the confusion over how to navigate the iPhone X when it was released last year, the horror that is iTunes, or the never-ending loop of iCloud storage update requests that inundated phones for months. Perhaps Waydo will play a role in ensuring that when it comes to the Apple car’s system, the software and hardware actually work together. It’s one thing to have poor software design in a phone, but it’s entirely different in a car, where flaws can be fatal.

Rumors about Apple’s self-driving car program began in 2015, but in the last few years, the tech company has made seemingly little progress, falling behind rivals like Waymo, Uber, and even more traditional car makers. Based on Waydo’s track record at Waymo, where The Information reports she would push back launch dates in the interest of safety, the engineer’s standards could bring some needed discipline–and technical talent–to Apple’s autonomous ambitions.

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