Apple hired former Tesla engineer Christopher “CJ” Moore for its self-driving electric car project.
According to people with knowledge of the matter cited by Bloomberg, Moore is working on the software side of the program and reports to Stuart Bowers, another former Tesla executive who joined Apple at the end of last year. Bowers was the head of Tesla’s Autopilot team before he departed in mid-2019.
The latest signing suggests Apple is moving ahead with the development of self-driving technology. Moore is joining a division known for its secrecy—Apple has never publicly announced its car plans—and frequent employee turnover.
Doug Field, who headed the Apple car project (codenamed Project Titan) from the start, left the company earlier this year to lead technology efforts at Ford. Apple recently replaced Field with Kevin Lynch, who led software engineering for the Apple Watch from the product’s very early stages.
Other major names from the automotive world hired by Apple include Ulrich Kranz, the former CEO of autonomous car startup Canoo and a former BMW manager who led the i3 and i8 programs, Tesla’s former drivetrains chief Michael Schwekutsch, and Tesla’s ex interiors head Steve MacManus.
Gallery: Motor1 Apple Car Renderings
Interestingly, the latest Tesla engineer to join Apple, Christopher “CJ” Moore, drew controversy this year for remarks about Tesla’s Autopilot feature. Interviewed by California Department of Motor Vehicles as part of investigations into the self-driving software, Moore implied that CEO Elon Musk had overstated the capabilities of the Autopilot software.
When asked about Musk’s January 2021 claims that Teslas would be capable of fully autonomous driving this year, Moore replied that Musk’s statements didn’t “match engineering reality,” according to a DMV memo summarizing the conversation.
Tesla’s current Level 2 system requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel, but for several years Musk has been saying he believes Tesla is close to releasing so-called Level 5 autonomy features, which would allow the cars to operate without human intervention.
Moore's LinkedIn page still lists him as working for Tesla, where he held the position of Autopilot Software Director since November 2019. He joined Tesla in July 2014 as a Senior Integration Engineer for the Autopilot program.