Ex-Engineering Chief Of Tesla Re-Hired By Apple To Join Self-Driving Car Unit

Doug Field, the former chief of engineering of Tesla, has landed back on his feet – back at his old employer, Apple.

Field will be joining the company to work on Project Titan, Apple’s self-driving car unit, which until recently, was kept in relative secrecy.

Previously, he worked at the company on engineering the Mac computers of Apple, alongside Bob Mansfield, Titan’s current head.

Last July, Field resigned from his role at Tesla after five years of working at the carmaker, where he also served as a senior vice president. His resignation ended an extended leave of absence amidst a reshuffle at the firm’s management.

At the time when the absence of Field was initially reported in the press, Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, said that Field was not going anywhere and was simply taking some time off in order to “recharge.”

Apple has kept the details about its self-driving car project under a tight leash, however, a court case that was filed against a former employee last July exposed some new details about the project.

It was revealed that there as many as 5,000 employees who are currently working on Project Titan, with 2,700 of those employees having access to secret databases.

Xiaolang Zhang, the former employee who is in question, is being sued by the tech giant for stealing trade secrets regarding Titan to take with him in his new role for Xmotors, Apple’s Chinese rival. Xmotors later terminated its relationship with Zhang.

According to the complaint that was made by Apple, Zhang was shown a “proprietary chip” by employees and he was working on circuit boards that could have been part of a sensor fusion project. Reportedly, it involves making use of various sensors in order to make the cars more accurate in their decisions while in self-driving mode.

The fact that Apple presented this information to the authorities as part of the complaint implies that more technological detail could come to light in court once the case goes further ahead. In the most recent development of the case, Zhang has pleaded not guilty.