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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

25 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
26 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.