Jaime Waydo, an autonomous vehicle expert who was previously employed at google’s Waymo, has been hired by Apple. She was previously in charge of verifying the safety of the prototypes produced at Waymo, and provided input assessing when it would be safe to carry out on-the-road tests in Phoenix in 2016. According to her former colleagues, she was “instrumental” as the head of systems engineering at Waymo.
Before she worked at Waymo, she was employed as a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and helped develop a rover vehicle that has since landed on Mars.
Apple originally intended to develop a full autonomous vehicle, but has since shifted focus to autonomous driving software, testing Lexus vehicles equipped with their software since April 2017. The Information believes that the recent hiring could indicate that Apple has progressed towards launching a prototype vehicle, but that the project still suffers from lack of communication.
Previously, Apple signed a deal with Voltswagen to allow for the use of Voltswagen vans for its on-campus shuttle programme dubbed “PAIL”, designed to transport employees around the multitute of buildings in the San Fransisco Bay Area. The vans are going to be autonomous, however the programme is behind schedule and consumes almost all of the self-driving car team’s attention.