Tesla’s vehicle engineering chief returns to Apple

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Doug Field, former Apple VP of Mac hardware, and also former Tesla VP of engineering, is now back at Apple and working on the company’s secretive Project Titan, Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber has found out. 

Field worked at Apple as VP of Product Design and VP of Mac hardware from 2008 to 2013 before moving to Tesla. But after the company was initially unable to ramp up Model 3 production quickly enough, Tesla CEO Elon Musk overtook Field’s duties in April 2018, and Field left the company shortly afterwards. 

Now that Field’s back at Apple, does it mean the company is serious about building a car again? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  

We knew that Project Titan (which is rumored to have started in 2014) was about car tech. But it was never quite clear whether Apple is really building the mythical iCar. As time went on, it became more and more apparent that Apple is building autonomous driving tech instead of an actual vehicle. Coupled with reports that hundreds of employees left Project Titan over the years, it appeared that the project will culminate with something far less exciting than Apple Car: The launch of an autonomous shuttle for Apple employees.

Apple confirmed to Gruber that Field is back at the company, but wouldn’t say which division. If he’s really working on Project Titan, that would mean he has reunited with Bob Mansfield, who’s leading the project. The two worked together on Mac hardware for years, so now that Field has Tesla experience under his belt, his re-hiring perhaps means that Apple is serious about making a car again. 

One hire does not a car make, though. If Apple is really ramping up Project Titan again, I’m sure we’ll hear more about it in the near future.

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