Chris Lattner takes charge of Autopilot Software as VP

Published By: Eunice Gettys on January 11, 2017 07:09 am EST

Although there are a huge difference in size and dynamics between the two giants, Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Apple Inc. are often compared with each other due to their innovation, technology, and disruptive roles in their respective industries. Thus, both the tech titans have been involved in an intense poaching war over the last few years.

After the closing bell on Tuesday, Tesla announced that it has acquired another key executive from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Senior Director of Developer Tools Department, Chris Lattner. Mr. Lattner has previously served at Apple for 11 years in various positions, and has now joined Tesla’s ranks as vice president of Autopilot Software.

Over the last five and a half years, Lattner has been leading the Developer Tools department at Apple, and was mainly responsible for development of Swift, the programming language for developing apps and software for Apple devices. It is also “one of the fastest growing languages” on Linux.

Before heading the Developer Tools Department, he became the lead author of an open source umbrella project, LLVM Compiler Infrastructure, which is widely used in academic researches and commercial products today. He also developed Clang compiler frontend between 2017 and 2012 during which he saw two promotions at Apple.

“We would like to welcome Chris Lattner, who will join Tesla as our Vice President of Autopilot Software. Chris’ reputation for engineering excellence is well known,” Tesla management noted in press release.

Before Mr. Lattner’s appointment, SpaceX Vice President of Software, Jinnah Hosein, has also worked as the interim VP of Autopilot Software. Now, he will return to SpaceX as a full-time executive. The Tesla team gave a “special thanks” to Mr. Hosein for his efforts required to attain excellence in both the important roles. It also applauded Tesla VP of Autopilot Vision and his team for their “exceptional work” to advance Autopilot.

Tesla poaches Mr. Lattner from Apple at a crucial time when the smartphone maker is working to bring its Enhanced Autopilot features on par with the level of competition currently prevailing in the industry. Previously, a key executive from the same department, Sterling Ander, recently parted ways with the company. By the end of fiscal year 2017, the automaker expects to demonstrate a cross-country, fully self-driving experience from LA to NYC.