It looks like speculation of an Apple-designed car is heating up again.
Before joining Tesla in 2016, Kim worked at Microsoft, where he was integral in the design of the Xbox One S and the HoloLens augmented reality headset. During his stint at Tesla, he was deeply involved in the design of the Model 3, Model S, Model X, Semi, and Roadster v2.
Last week Kim shared an Instagram post regarding his first day at the company, and his current LinkedIn title is listed simply as “Designer.”
Kim’s hire will certainly stoke speculation that Apple is once again working on an actual car. While it was never confirmed nor denied, Apple’s focus has over the past few years has shifted from building its own vehicles to creating its own autonomous vehicle system.
“Tim Cook recently clarified that the company’s ambitions are broader than cars, emphasizing ‘autonomous systems’ as the mother of all machine learning projects that benefit everything that Apple does,” reads the report. “Nevertheless, the timing of Kim’s hire, just months after Tesla’s chief vehicle engineer, Doug Field, returned to Apple, suggests that the company’s car ambitions might have changed once again.”
“We’re focusing on autonomous systems, and clearly one purpose of autonomous systems is self-driving cars,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in an interview last year. “There are others, and we sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects.”
This year, however, has seen Apple hire a number of former Tesla employees, according to a CNBC report. Although Kim has a background in software and hardware, at Tesla, his efforts centred on the vehicle and specifically, cabin space.