Apple's Project Titan self-driving car program has stumbled over the past few years, but it may have just received a major boost. The Information reported on Friday that Apple has hired on ex-Waymo senior engineer Jaime Waydo.
Waydo, according to the report, was instrumental at Google's Waymo division. She was involved in areas ensuring safety and that the software and hardware worked harmoniously. Specifically, Waydo had major input in the decision made last fall to remove human backup drivers from Waymo's self-driving car prototypes.
Apple confirmed Waydo had joined the company but did not elaborate on her hiring.
At Apple, Project Titan has shifted focus numerous times. When fresh, the plans included nuilding a physical car, but the team's focus began to shift in various directions. A report from last August depicted a scattered team of engineers looking at a semi-autonomous car, a fully self-driving car, software, and more. Eventually, Apple's do-it-all approach eroded morale and killed the project altogether.
The most recent news from Apple's self-driving car team was a patent for a navigation system for self-driving cars. Unlike maps that rely on static information to help a self-driving car, Apple's system would predict routes using on-board sensors and processors. The patent states that the system would direct the car "independently of any data received from any devices external to the vehicle, and any navigation data stored locally to the vehicle prior to any monitoring of navigation."
It's unclear if Apple will ever resurrect the "iCar," so to speak, but we'll likely see advanced self-driving technology from the Cupertino, California-based company in the future.