It’s being reported today that Apple Inc.’s self-driving car team lost one of its longest-serving leaders, a potential setback to the technology giant’s efforts to eventually rival Tesla Inc. and others in the industry, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Twenty-one year Veteran Benjamin Lyon, Senior Director of Apple’s Special Project Group, helped form Apple’s original autonomous electric car team in 2014 as its most senior manager working on sensors. He remained on the team through its various reboots over the past several years, and most recently led a self-driving car sensors team reporting directly to Doug Field, Apple’s vice president in charge of the car project.
Bloomberg News identified Lyon as one of 11 managers reporting to Field and leading Apple’s work on a self-driving car last month. Lyon is leaving to join space and satellite startup Astra. For more, read the full Bloomberg report.
In a Businesswire press release Benjamin Lyon stated: “Astra presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply my experience designing and manufacturing beautiful products to ignite a new wave of innovation in the space industry. Astra is incredibly well-positioned to enable a new generation of space services, and the possibilities for humanity are endless.”
Considering that Apple reportedly hired the VP Product Line Bei Porsche AG to advance Apple’s Project Titan earlier this year, the departure of Benjamin Lyon seems naturally in-line with adding the next potential leader for the project steeped with car manufacturing experience.