Tesla’s former senior engineering lead, Doug Field – who left the company last month following a leave of absence – has returned to the company he left in 2013: Apple.
The news comes via Daring Fireball, which reports that Field has taken on a new role as part of Project Titan – also known as the Apple Car. That’s quite a change of brief considering he was part of the Mac team when he left for Tesla five years ago.
The role change is particularly interesting because it calls into question a number of reports which suggested that Project Titan’s scope had been considerably cut back. Said reports claimed that the division had shifted from the dream of a fully-fledged self-driving car to simply providing systems for other car manufacturers. Bringing someone onto the team who was until recently directly involved with the production of Tesla Model 3s is certainly sure to get the rumour mill churning if nothing else.
The direction of Field’s career seemed to be signposted by events in April when Tesla missed its first-quarter goal of Model 3 production. At that point Musk himself took over, saying on Twitter: “My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”
Related: Apple Car rumours
Tesla said that Field would be back after a leave of absence, but he ultimately decided not to return to the company. Instead, he’s now back in Cupertino with his former colleague Bob Mansfield, who previously worked with Field on Mac hardware, but now heads up Project Titan.
Employees moving between Apple and Tesla is a fairly regular occurrence, but this one feels particularly significant for Apple’s position in the burgeoning driverless car space. Hopefully, this is a sign that the early teething problems are over, and Apple is ready to make its mark on the world’s roads as well as its desktops.
Does this signal the Apple Car is back on? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews