Tesla’s chief executive of vehicle engineering, Doug Field, returns to Apple Inc. after spending five years with Tesla. This is a good news for Apple as Field is joining the company to work on the Project Titan. Apple made an ambitious effort to develop self-driving car around 2015 to compete Tesla and Detroit. Apple opened up many new offices, engineering machine shop, and hired thousands of engineers for building cars. Now, Apple is clear to work on its self-driving technology.
Doug Field, who is one of four top executives in Tesla’s proxy left the company in late June after taking a long leave of absence. Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk tasked him to look after both production and engineering. Field did his job by March with an email to workers that boosted their morale for working on Model 3. In April, Musk took over the control of manufacturing and in May, the company said Field was on leave for his personal reasons.
Earlier, Field worked at Apple Inc. as a top hardware engineer from 2008 to 2013 for both Mac computers and product design. Before Apple, Field worked as the chief technology officer for Segway. Field believed that he would never consider leaving Apple. Tom Neymayr, spokesman from Apple confirmed return of Field. But, he didn’t say anything about what he is working on.
Apple’s self-driving technology is currently at the center of legal proceedings as a former engineer allegedly stole self-driving technology materials and brought them to a Chinese car company named “Xmotors”. Apple sued its employee, Xiaolang Zhang for stealing such secrets about the project Titan. Legal procedures revealed that Apple is working on the project with as many as 5,000 employees and is still growing strong. 2,700 of those employees hold access to secret databases of the project. At last, Xmotors also ended up its relationship with Zhang.
Apple’s former chief engineer, Bob Mansfield also returned to the company for leading the car project in 2016. He created separate teams for working on the physical car hardware. According to him, it is better to work on the underlying technology and then decide whether the company should return to building a vehicle or partner with an existing carmaker.
Field’s return to the company suggests that Apple is once again working on this actual car hardware. Field has an extensive experience in the industry as an engineering manager. So, he could also replace Mansfield, who is currently the in charge of the self-driving project. Mansfield is not seen working on the project on a day-to-day basis. So, the return of Field could also replace Mansfield.