Jamie Carlson, a veteran firmware engineer and early member of the Tesla Autopilot team, made the headlines last year when he left Tesla to join Apple on ‘Special Projects’ at a time when we were just learning of the scale of the Cupertino company’s ambitions in the auto industry.

Electrek has now learned that Carlson left Apple earlier this month after just over a year at the company. He is staying in the electric vehicle industry by joining NextEV as Senior Director of Advanced Technologies.

Carlson is leaving Apple’s ‘Special Projects’ group amid reports of a mass departure of talent from the company’s vehicle program. Hundreds of engineers have left Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ in the past few months as the company is reportedly restructuring the program to reduce its effort in building an electric vehicle and to accelerate its effort in building a self-driving platform.

On the other hand, he is now joining NextEV which is currently undergoing rapid growth and hiring hundreds of engineers in Silicon Valley. It inaugurated its US headquarters in San Jose earlier this week.

Carlson is joining another early member of Tesla’s Autopilot program at NextEV, Kurt Thywissen, former Senior Engineering Manager of UI & Autopilot Software, who is now Senior Director of Human-Machine Interaction at NextEV.

Though unlike Carlson, Thywissen joined NextEV directly from Tesla back in June.

The demand for engineers with experience in building autonomous driving systems is stronger than ever in the Bay Area. Apple, Google, and Tesla all have growing teams of engineers working on their program, while other companies like Baidu, Otto, Mercedes and now NextEV are also actively recruiting.

Udacity even launched a Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program in order to help increase the pool of talent in the field. NextEV is one of the hiring partners on the program.

NextEV is currently working on a $1 million 1 MW all-electric Supercar and it has ambitions to release less-expensive electric vehicles in China. The startup also has plans to eventually enter the US market.

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