Tesla Senior VP of Engineering Leaves to Join Apple's Project Titan

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But the electric auto company's chief executive Elon Musk took over Field's role in April as part of a management reshuffle following a number of missed production deadlines, the FT adds. The word at the time was that he had not left the company, but now, according to a Tesla representative, that has changed.

Field will be joining Apple to work on its self-driving auto unit Project Titan, which until recently was shrouded in relative secrecy.

The return of Field could indicate that Apple is, once again, working on actual vehicle hardware.

Field's career at Apple began in 2008, where he spent five years as a lead hardware engineer for Mac computers and Apple's general product design. "He has not left Tesla".

Doug Field used to work for Apple, but has been working at Tesla since 2013.

This break occurs several months after Field was removed from his position as head of Model 3 production and replaced by Elon Musk. Mansfield overhauled Apple's original vehicle plan, centering the focus on the car's potential underlying technology rather than physical auto hardware that the team originally began designing. However, there isn't much evidence to claim Apple Inc.is chasing the likes of Tesla with the same vigour as it did 2 years ago.

However, Field's return to the Cupertino tech giant may signal Apple have not fully given up on creating a self-driving auto of its own, according to longtime Apple watcher and blogger John Gruber. It announced in 2016 that it abandoned plans to develop a vehicle and instead would concentrate on components, but Apple traditionally has manufactured and sold complete products and not elements of other companies' products. Now that he is back at Apple, he is reportedly working as part of the "Project Titan" Apple Car group.

In may, field went on vacation and didn't want to go back to work. Tesla CEO Elon Musk had once described Apple's "Project Titan" as a "Tesla graveyard".

Project Titan made news last month after former Apple engineer Xiaolang Zhang was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Jose Airport and was accused of stealing the company's trade secrets related to its self-driving cars. He said: 'It's an interesting hire, primarily because it suggests that Apple still has an interest in making actual vehicles'.

Apple appears to be ploughing ahead with plans to build a driverless vehicle.

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