“Apple has hired a high-profile senior engineer of Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving vehicle unit, Jaime Waydo, to join the iPhone maker’s own self-driving vehicle project, known as Titan, according to a person briefed about the move,” Amir Efrati and Jessica E. Lessin report for The Information. “Ms. Waydo’s hiring could elevate the stature of Apple’s self-driving car efforts. It also signals that the company may be making progress toward launching a prototype vehicle.”

“Titan has been an afterthought in the autonomous vehicle industry, according to numerous engineers and executives in the field. It has changed its focus multiple times, turned over its leadership and at one point laid off a large group of employees following a hiring binge,” Efrati and Lessin report. “It has lagged far behind rivals in developing self-driving technology: As of a year and a half ago, the Titan project had unveiled partially automated software for highway driving, but not much else, a former Apple engineer has said.”

“Waymo appears to be the closest of any self-driving vehicle project to launching a service to the public, which it has said it wants to do this year in the Phoenix suburbs,” Efrati and Lessin report. “Before spending nearly five years at Google and Waymo, Ms. Waydo spent more than a decade as a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she worked on a rover vehicle that has driven on Mars, according to past interviews she has given.”

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MacDailyNews Take: Project Titan: