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Apple bolsters electric car team automotive industry veteran

Apple is continuing its large hiring spree for executives in the automotive industry. Doug Betts, the head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, joined Apple in the ‘Operations’ sector sometime this year, as shown on his LinkedIn page.

Both Betts and Apple declined to comment on the new hire. It is not the first, with Apple on a hiring spree for car, self-driving and battery executives. It recently got into trouble with A123 Systems, a car battery provider, for poaching key members of the company. Samsung is also having trouble with Apple offering lucrative contracts to employees in the battery division.

Betts is regarded highly in the automotive industry for making Fiat and Chrysler two of the safest car companies. Before joining the company, Chrysler was known for its high failure rate over a long term, but Betts managed to drop those rates of failure.

He may be overseeing the production of the electric car and making sure the quality adheres to global standards. Right now, it is still unclear where he is working, due to Apple not confirming whether the electric car project is real.

Apple is reportedly working on an electric, self-driving car (opens in new tab) and has plans to launch it between 2018 and 2020. It has been scaling up the secret team, hiring from Tesla Motors, Ford, General Motors and other car manufacturers. Elon Musk confirmed Apple’s interest in Tesla’s employees (opens in new tab), although he claimed a 5:1 ratio of Apple employees coming to Tesla to Tesla employees leaving to join Apple.

The car is set to compete against Tesla Motors, Google and other self-driving, electric car providers. By 2020, we might see General Motors, Audi, Ford and BMW all in the market, although right now Google, Tesla and Audi are the three making large strides.

Uber, the cab sharing service, also intends to launch a range of self-driving cars, capable of transporting customers. This will lower the costs of the entire operation, although self-driving cars would need to be verified as commercial vehicles (without drivers) before Uber could hope to remove all of its workforce.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.