Apple has once again sparked rumors it may be developing more than just self-driving car software. The California-based technology giant has hired Andrew Kim, a former senior designer at Tesla.
The Verge reported on Kim’s hiring on Monday and said Kim’s first day at Apple was last week. Kim’s departure from Tesla follows former chief vehicle engineer Doug Fields, who did not return from a leave of absence this past summer. Fields formerly worked at Apple but joined Tesla in 2013. He returned to Apple in August.
Kim began work at Tesla in 2015 after a tenure at Microsoft where he worked on user interfaces for Windows 10 and the Xbox One S. At Tesla, he helped shape the interior design of the Model 3, but his LinkedIn profile says he also worked on the Model S, Model X, and three projects yet to reach the market: the Model Y, the second-generation Roadster, and the Semi.
With Kim onboard, Apple renews speculation it could build a physical car. Apple mostly shuttered its self-driving car Project Titan teams in 2016 to instead focus on self-driving software. However, numerous patents and new hires could mean there’s renewed interest inside the tech giant to build a car. The company also poached a senior engineer from Waymo this past summer.
It’s possible Kim could be working on something entirely different, however, and leverage his user-interface background with Microsoft for his new gig. When Apple is ready to share more details about its self-driving car systems, the company will likely employ Volkswagen vans for a prototype shuttle service, according to a report this past May.