Twitter's former head engineer and creator of the APEX ad system, Alex Roetter, is reportedly now working at Kitty Hawk, a startup with ties to Google and Zee.Aero, whose primary function seems to be creating fully autonomous, passenger-toting aerial vehicles of some sort. While Google co-founder Larry Page heads up the elusive Zee.Aero, Kitty Hawk's president is Sebastian Thrun, the brain behind the original incarnation of Google's self-driving car project. At Kitty Hawk, a report from Business Insider indicates that Roetter serves as the vice president of software, though details about exactly what he does, who he reports to, and who works under him are all unavailable at this time.
Roetter's existing links to Google are hard to ignore in this career move. He was with the company back in 2002, before they even became a publicly traded entity. He worked closely with some of the oldest talent that Google has to offer. He was also involved in the development of Twitter's Fabric platform, which Google recently bought up. As far as how well he fits the role, his software chops are quite difficult to deny, he's a pilot, and he has even worked on a project to help planes detect wind farms in the past. For all intents and purposes, Roetter is about as fit for the job as they come, and has past connections to Google, to boot.
Roetter's time at Twitter began in 2014, when he took over for the outgoing Chris Fry. His exit, on the other hand, came just last year as part of a Google-esque mass exodus of top talent. While his tenure was notable for his critical work on Fabric and APEX, he was also embroiled in Twitter's controversy regarding diversity, even going as far as to personally vow to help with the problem using every tool at his disposal. Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero have yet to trot out any commercial products, but both seem to have a similar focus, and strong ties to Google. Only time will tell exactly what contributions Roetter will make in his new role, and what impact Kitty Hawk will have on the world of transportation.