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Apple's Swift Creator Chris Lattner Joins Tesla As VP Of Autopilot Software

10 January 2017, 9:38 pm EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Chris Lattner, head of Apple’s Swift programming language, is moving to Tesla as the new VP for its autopilot software, according to reports. Tesla announced Lattner’s welcome Tuesday, excited for him to “accelerate the future of autonomous driving.”  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Chris Lattner, the head of Apple's Swift programming language, is migrating over to Elon Musk's company, Tesla, as the new VP of autopilot software.

Creator Of Swift Leaves Apple For Tesla

In an email sent to the Swift mailing list, Lattner announced the move, although he didn't verse a specific reason for his departure, simply saying that he would exit Apple later this month for another professional pursuit.

Not too long after, Tesla officially announced Lattner's welcome, stating that he is to replace Jinnah Hosein, SpaceX's VP for Software, who at present serves another role — the one that Lattner is about to occupy. Lattner's ingress puts Hosein back to SpaceX duties full-time.

"We are very excited that Chris is joining Tesla to lead our Autopilot engineering team and accelerate the future of autonomous driving," Tesla said in a statement.

As it stands, it's safe to surmise that the company is poised to leverage Lattner's programming prowess to make development to Tesla's autopilot software. How he'll accelerate the future of autonomous driving is one thing that remains to be seen.

Tesla announced late 2016 that all of its vehicles going forward will be supplied with the hardware necessary for autonomous driving functions, and Musk said that he's aiming for a fully driverless coast-to-coast test drive by the end of 2017. Lattner could bring those goals into fruition, taking into account Musk's propensity to set oft-bellicose deadlines.

Lattner spent 11 years at Apple, primarily responsible for developing Swift. The programming language enabled developers to create applications for Apple platforms, chiefly iOS and macOS.

Lattner's resume includes creating the Clang compiler and designing the LLVM compiler optimization infrastructure. He also contributed to the evolution of Objective C, a pre-Swift programming language used by Apple for OS X and iOS. Additionally, Lattner also worked on Apple's Xcode software. Out of 11 years of service, he spent more than five as Apple's senior director at its Developer Tools Department besides previous titles he held while there.

Who Will Lead Apple's Swift Project?

Ted Kremenek will replace Lattner as the project lead for the Swift project, Lattner stated in an email. He says that working with the teams who labored over Swift was a "a unique life experience."

"Apple is a truly amazing place to be able to assemble the skills, imagination, and discipline to pull something like this off," he said, adding that the program is in tip-top shape at present.

In Other Tesla News

On a different note, Tesla recently expanded free supercharging for an additional two weeks. Owners of Tesla vehicles may get their batteries juiced up gratis for a longer period. Cars that will be purchased after Jan. 15, however, are no longer eligible for free unlimited access to Tesla's charging facilities.

More recently, the Palo Alto, California, company failed to achieve its original goal of 80,000 vehicles shipped for 2016, having only shipped 76,230 units. Several factors plague the shortcoming, but key individuals such as investors are now keenly observing if Tesla could prove efficacious in terms of the demand for the forthcoming Model 3, its easier-on-the-pockets entry level electric vehicle.

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