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Tesla scoops Apple exec to head autonomous tech

Chris Lattner joins Tesla as vice-president of its Autopilot system after 11 years with Apple.

Tesla Motors has nabbed another former-Apple employee, with the all-electric car-maker recruiting ex-senior developer Chris Lattner to lead the advancement of its Autopilot self-driving software.

As part of his new role, Mr Lattner is expected to oversee the development and implementation of a completely hands-free self-driving system, leading Tesla's emissions-free vehicles into a fully autonomous future.

During his 11 years with Apple, Mr Lattner created Swift, a programming language designed as a foundation for building applications across Apple platforms, and prior to Apple, he was at LLVM Compiler as lead author.

Tesla has recently upgraded its self-driving hardware across its all-electric sedan and SUV range, fitting eight new surround video cameras in the Model S and Model X to provide full 360-degree visibility.

The tech start-up has also updated its models with 12 ultrasonic sensors, able to detect objects at nearly double the distance of previous sensors, and improved processing powering to up to 40 times faster than before.

Pushing further into autonomous driving technology, Tesla said the future of automotive travel will be safer and cheaper without humans behind the wheel.

"Self-driving vehicles will play a crucial role in improving transportation safety and accelerating the world's transition to a sustainable future," it said.

"Full autonomy will enable a Tesla to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who can own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not."

Tesla's Autopilot self-driving software came under fire last year when it failed to distinguish a white semi-trailer from the skyline, resulting in a collision and the death of the Model S's driver.

Improvements to the software have since been rolled out to all Model S and Model X Autopilot enabled vehicles with Tesla still charging ahead with development of its self-driving tech.

Will Tesla be the first car-maker to bring a fully autonomous vehicle to market? Tell us in the comments below.