SpaceX Software Executive Joins Self-Driving Startup Aurora

(Bloomberg) -- Self-driving startup Aurora has added another big-name hire to its roster: SpaceX’s former vice president of software engineering, Jinnah Hosein.

Hosein joins Aurora with the same title, Aurora said in an emailed statement. Aurora was co-founded by Chris Urmson, Sterling Anderson and Drew Bagnell, former executives from autonomous-car projects at Google, Tesla Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., respectively. The star power of the founding trio, along with the talent it has since attracted, has made Aurora a leading contender in the push to code human drivers off the roads.

SpaceX Software Executive Joins Self-Driving Startup Aurora

During some of his time at Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hosein served in a dual role as interim vice president of Autopilot software at Tesla -- another Musk-led company -- after Anderson’s own departure to start Aurora.

“Jinnah is a man of exceptional talent and impeccable character. I once entrusted a team to his care; am thrilled to do so again,” Anderson wrote in a tweet Monday.

The hire comes at a time when the war for software engineering talent continues to escalate as companies battle to develop autonomous vehicles. Chris Lattner, who relieved Hosein from his double duty at Tesla and SpaceX, left the role after leading Tesla’s Autopilot engineering team for less than six months.

Hosein, 41, contributed to 40 rocket launches while at SpaceX, including the software for landing reusable rocket boosters, Aurora said in a Medium post. Before SpaceX, he spent a decade at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, where he contributed to the early stages of Google’s cloud computing platform, among other projects.

SpaceX didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aurora also said Monday that it will be expanding its Pittsburgh presence and opening an office in San Francisco. Last month, Aurora added $90 million in funding and two new directors, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners and Mike Volpi of Index Ventures, as it gears up to deliver autonomous-car software to the world’s automakers.

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