Self-driving cars are no longer the stuff of science fiction.
The future has officially arrived. No one could argue that technology has lagged in the past two decades. It has, in fact, moved forward at breakneck speed. The cell phone and the computer have taken interpersonal communication to a level that would have been impossible to imagine by most who were born in the analog sixties and seventies. Car culture is about to be entirely transformed next. The future is also bright for auto recycling, and there’s no doubt that something radically different is in the air now that Chris Lattner, a former higher up at Apple, has joined the Tesla team.
When Apple recently laid off the 1,000 or so employees working on developing an electric car, industry buzz suggested that the company’s plan to launch a vehicle that doesn’t need a driver, had reached an impasse. They were a computer company well outside of their comfort zone. They were lost in the automobile manufacturing industry’s strict regulations and guidelines. It was finally dawning on them that they were trying to enter a notoriously low profit margin space. The rumors for why Apple had found itself stuck at this crossroad were numerous and had the usual doomsday tone of hearsay. If there were truly insurmountable obstacles to Apple building an autonomously driven car, something with which had they no experience, Lattner’s entrance into Tesla shows that the idea is hardly dead in the water.
An Apple veteran best known for designing Swift, a programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS that is revered by developers worldwide, Lattner’s role will be to head up the autopilot engineering team. His arrival at Tesla restores faith in the idea that a car that ties together the latest computer technology and the automobile is indeed in the pipeline. This development, in fact, contradicts the naysaying about the feasibility of self-driving cars that has been circulating throughout both the car and computer industry. Furthermore, Lattner’s presence at Tesla brings an implicit guarantee that the autonomous car’s computer system will be as well-designed as drivers will need it to be to take the plunge and buy one.
The development of the autopilot feature of the autonomous car that Lattern will oversee is actually key to its function. While it once only meant a car that could change lanes and safely maneuver without the aid of a human being, now the idea is even more far-reaching. The new self-driving vehicles will offer eight cameras with 360-degree visibility and a much wider road observation range. They’ll also have the capacity to see through weather elements such as fog and rain. They’ll even have the ability to see right through vehicles directly in front of them. But these are just some of the signs of how the concept of self-driving keeps expanding.
Many have felt that old school auto manufacturers lack the visionary mindset to enter the futuristic autonomous car space. There are many who also say that the notion of a struggling American auto industry being able to adapt to the demands of today’s innovation-driven computer culture is farfetched. Tesla, on the other hand, is an electric car and solar panel manufacturer that is believably poised to do well in the autonomous car market. They’re an exciting enough brand to also attract the tech talent they need to do so. Matt Casebolt, another Apple higher up has also jumped ship and joined Tesla of late. It’s been said that the two companies not only have similar goals, but cultures. In fact, Tesla has been gearing up for the launch of its first self-driving vehicles by integrating lots of former Apple people into its fold. Bringing in former Apple people has been a Tesla strategy for some time. They’ve had a preference for hiring Apple employees for a while and have agressively recruited about 150 of them to date, according to a recent report by Bloomberg. In spite of all this positive buzz about the arrival of Lattner, there are those unimpressed by Tesla’s power moves who remain absolutely certain that Apple’s supremacy in the ultra- competitive autonomous car space is still inevitable.