Chris Lattner leaves Apple to take Tesla Autopilot helm

The creator of Apple's Swift language will join the car maker as vice president of Autopilot Software.

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(Image: Tesla)

The mystery over where programming language aficionado Chris Lattner would be heading after his stint at Apple lasted mere hours, with Tesla announcing his recruitment.

Lattner will serve as Tesla's vice president of Autopilot Software, taking the reins from Jinnah Hosein, who had been serving as software vice president for SpaceX as well as looking after Autopilot on an interim basis.

"Chris' reputation for engineering excellence is well known," the company said in a statement. "We are very excited that Chris is joining Tesla to lead our Autopilot engineering team and accelerate the future of autonomous driving."

In October, Tesla announced that it would be adding new hardware to all of its vehicles to allow self-driving functionality.

"All Tesla vehicles produced in our factory -- including Model 3 -- will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver," the company said at the time.

Tesla said it would roll out features progressively to reach full autonomy.

Last week, the electric car maker announced that its production of vehicles increased by 64 percent in 2016, representing the production of 83,922 vehicles during the year.

Lattner's departure from Apple after 11 years was announced earlier on Tuesday in a post on the Swift Evolution mailing list.

"Working with many phenomenal teams at Apple to launch Swift has been a unique life experience," Lattner wrote in a statement. "Apple is a truly amazing place to be able to assemble the skills, imagination, and discipline to pull something like this off."

In his time at Apple, Lattner was responsible for the creation and stewardship of the Swift programming language, which is designed to eventually depose Objective-C as Apple's development language of choice, and the Clang compiler front-end that sits atop the LLVM compiler that Lattner co-created at the University of Illinois.

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