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June 21, 2017

Tesla's Autopilot chief quits just six months after leaving Apple

Just six months after leaving a high-profile job at Apple, Tesla's Autopilot software chief Chris Lattner is looking for a new job.

"Turns out that Tesla isn't a good fit for me after all," Lattner tweeted late Tuesday.

In January, Tesla picked Lattner to work on its self-driving car program, praising his reputation for "engineering excellence" in a blog post. Lattner spent 11 years at Apple, most recently creating Swift, Apple's new app programming language.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Lattner's departure.

Tech companies and automakers have been fiercely competing for top technical expertise as part of their efforts to develop self-driving car technology.

Apple and Tesla, whose headquarters are only 10 miles from one another, have been raiding one another's employees enough that Tesla CEO Elon Musk even had to address the issue with investors during a 2015 conference call with analysts.

"Tesla has recruited five times as many people from Apple as Apple's recruited from Tesla," he said in May of that year. "It's a fairly high number."

Musk is known as a demanding, even difficult boss. A 2015 biography of Musk included a tale of him scolding an unnamed Tesla employee for choosing to attend his child's birth over a company event. Musk denied that charge in a tweet when the book was published, but its author issued a statement standing by his reporting.

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