Field worked for Apple as vice president of Mac hardware engineering, before decamping to Tesla for what became a five-year spell as senior vice president of engineering. But by April, Musk had taken direct control of manufacturing and in May, the company said Field was on leave to spend time with his family and "recharge". In his return to Apple, Field will work with Bob Mansfield, who now leads the company's self-driving auto technology program. Field returning suggests that under Mansfield's leadership, the Titan project has regained its footing'. "He has not left Tesla".
Prior to his departure, Field was working on the parts of Project Titan that made it an actual vehicle, which is what spurs the question of if the company is looking to build a auto again.
Tesla's former chief of engineering Doug Field has landed on his feet - back at his old firm Apple. Mansfield overhauled Apple's original vehicle plan, centering the focus on the car's potential underlying technology rather than physical auto hardware that the team originally began designing.
Tesla poached Field from Apple in 2013 stating that he had the "leadership and technical talent to develop and deliver outstanding products".
Field's decision to rejoin Apple represents another interesting twist in the battle for automotive talent between the iPhone maker and Tesla. Doug Field's appointment has reignited speculation about the iPhone maker's vehicle programme after reports it had been dropped. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr confirmed with me only that Field has returned to Apple, but no one should find it surprising that he's working on Titan. The company has also received permission from the State of California to conduct on-road autonomous testing of 66 vehicles.
The following year, Tesla struck back, recruiting software developer Chris Lattner, one of the creators of Apple's Swift programming language. Court documents filed last month by Apple said that as many as 5,000 employees working inside the company were authorized to access information about the project.
In 2017 while being interviewed by Bloomberg the CEO of Apple Tim Cook spoke about the company's involvement in autonomous systems and hinted at Apple's involvement in autonomous cars.
Project Titan made news last month after former Apple engineer Xiaolang Zhang was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Jose Airport and was accused of stealing the company's trade secrets related to its self-driving cars.
It's much more plausible that Apple is interesting in designing a auto platform, to be embedded in cars made and sold by other people, though.