Sensor Manager departs Apple Car project to join space startup Astra as chief engineer

A chief manager of the Apple Car project has reportedly departed the company to join space startup, Astra. Benjamin Lyon had worked on almost everything from sensor hardware to input devices at Apple.

Astra is a company that is currently focused on building commercial rockets, however, it has plans to gradually build its own satellites. Astra’s vision as of now is to work on small satellite deployment.

Apple Car

Astra hires veteran Apple employee Benjamin Lyon, sensor manager for Apple Car, as chief engineer

During an interview with TechCrunch, Lyon shared the news and said that he moved on to Astra because he was interested in the kind of work that the space startup company is doing.

I think the Astra vision is this magical combination of fundementally taking the rocket science out of space. How do you do that? Well, you better have a great foundation of a team, and a great foundation of core technologies that you can bring together in order to make a compelling series of products.

Lyon had been a vital part of Project Titan. Since 2014, he had been a manager working on the sensors of the self-driving car.

When I’ve looked at what to do next at Apple, it has always been this combination of ‘What is the most impactful thing I can do for humanity?’ – the iPhoen was very much one of these. Phones were awful [at the time], and if we could fundementally come up with a new interface, that would completely change how people interact with devices.

The CEO of Astra, Chris Kemp, also believes that foundations are the key ingredients to bring people together and make compelling products along the way.

Before leaving Apple, Lyon worked on the iPhone, input devices, sensor hardware, and Apple Car. Back in 2016, he was working under Bob Mansfield but Apple Car leadership has since been shifted to AI chief John Giannandrea.

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Gaming editor at iThinkDiff