Apple nabs ex-Google Waymo engineer to boost its self-driving car efforts

June 19, 2018

Self-driving car development in Silicon Valley is starting to feel like a game of autonomous musical chairs.

The Information reported Friday that Apple hired Jaime Waydo, senior self-driving car engineer away from Google’s Waymo unit. The news comes not long after news that Apple and VW will collaborate on a self-driving van set to transport workers around Apple's California corporate campus.

Prior to joining Waymo, Waydo was a 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 cohesively together - and helped make key decisions about when to remove human safety drivers from the company’s test fleet in Arizona.

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

It is notable that Apple has yet to release any information to the public about products related to self-driving cars but has made several moves indicating that it is still highly focused on the technology. Hiring Waydo alone makes it clear that Apple is eager to step up their game.

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

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