Apple's self-driving car program has a new boss, report says

The program will be helmed by John Giannandrea, Apple's AI and machine learning chief.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
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John Giannandrea will take over leadership of Apple's Project Titan self-driving car program.

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Things have been pretty quiet over at Apple's self-driving car program, aka Project Titan, for a while now. With Apple being notoriously tight-lipped about future products, we don't know a ton about the program, but, thanks to a report published Tuesday by Bloomberg, we do know that it's got a new leader.

Specifically, the self-driving car program's leadership has been given to the head of Apple's larger artificial intelligence division, John Giannandrea. Now, according to Bloomberg, the program's day-to-day operations still belong to Doug Field, who returned to Apple after a five-year stint with Tesla, so it's unclear what Giannandrea's involvement will mean to Project Titan.

In addition to Titan, Giannandrea's duties have him overseeing Siri and various other machine-learning tech under the Apple umbrella. Before coming to Cupertino in 2018, he worked at Google, where he also dealt in machine learning.

Initially, when Apple started Project Titan, its goal was to create its own Tesla-fighting electric autonomous car. Once the company realized that this might be an overly ambitious goal, it pivoted to focus just on the self-driving technology. 

While it's hard to guess just how far along Titan is with self-driving, the annual disengagement reports that it files with the state of California show 73 disengagements in total during the period from June to November of 2019, while driving 7,544 miles. By comparison, Chinese firm Baidu managed just six disengagements in just over 100,000 miles of testing.

Apple didn't respond to Roadshow's request for comment in time for publication.

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