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Apple Car Director Heads to Luminar After Less Than a Year

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(Bloomberg) -- Luminar Technologies Inc. hired Christopher “CJ” Moore, a manager on Apple Inc.’s car project and a former director of Autopilot at Tesla Inc., to lead global software development.

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Moore, who had joined Apple in August, will lead Luminar’s software team to develop autonomous safety features integrated with its lidar, or laser sensors, the auto-parts company said in a statement Wednesday. Luminar shares jumped as much as 8.2% and were trading up 4.8% at 12:09 p.m. in New York.

The departure from Apple continues a string of high-profile changes to its car project. Over the last two years, nearly the entire Apple Car management team has left. Earlier this month, Ian Goodfellow, another director on the Apple project, left for Alphabet Inc.’s DeepMind. At the same time, Apple has hired new managers from Ford, Rivian and other car industry players.

Orlando, Florida-based Luminar, which went public via a $3.4 billion reverse merger in 2020, has signed agreements with Mercedes-Benz, Volvo Car AB, and SAIC Motor Corp. to provide laser sensors to enable semi-autonomous driving in passenger cars.

Luminar also said it hired Taner Ozcelik, a veteran of Nvidia Corp.’s automotive business, to lead product development.

Apple shares declined less than 1%.

(Updates with share reaction in second pararaph and hiring of Nvidia executive.)

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