Apr 24, 2017

Apple's NASA-trained self-driving car testers

Paul Sakuma / AP

In a permit issued April 14 by the state of California and obtained by the WSJ, Apple lists 6 former NASA employees who will be test driving three autonomous Lexus sport-utility vehicles.

Why this matters: Though the company has been developing its autonomous vehicle technology since 2014 — in an effort known as "Project Titan" — the road tests signal that Apple is focusing on catching up in the race to develop self-driving cars.

Competitors: Apple faces stiff competition. Waymo has used senior engineers to test autonomous vehicles on roads since 2009. Meanwhile, both traditional companies like Ford and General Motors, as well as Silicon Valley companies like Uber and Tesla, are pouring their resources into developing self-driving technology.

The new hires:

  • Shilpa Gulati: She was part of a 2009 team working in Antartica on a NASA-funded project to develop a self-driving vehicle that could explore one of Jupiter's moons. Gulati later worked on autonomous cars at Robert Bosch GmbH, a German technology and auto-parts supplier.
  • Paul Herbet, Jeremy Ma and Victor Hwang: As WSJ points out, all three have worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Herbet designed a robot that could unlock a door; Ma focuses on algorithms for detecting 3-D objects; and Hwang worked on motion-planning algorithms for robots.

Go deeper

The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 hours ago - Health