The Apple Car project loses its senior director of engineering1
Ex-Tesla engineer Michael Schwekutsch now leaves Apple to join electric air taxi startup
Michael Schwekutsch joined Apple back in March of 2019, after departing Tesla. Reportedly, he had been working within Apple's Special Projects Group. This group is responsible for projects such as the still unannounced Apple Car, the project of a self-driving vehicle by Cupertino. However, Schwekutsch has recently departed Apple and has joined Archer Aviation, a startup for electric air taxis.
The company is currently working on air taxies powered by electricity that take off and land vertically. So far, the company has developed one such vehicle and it can carry one passenger and one pilot. A model for four passengers is also reportedly in the works. Archer Aviation seems to be planning to operate urban air mobility services in Los Angeles and is currently awaiting FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) certification.
On the other hand, Apple seems to be continuing its push with the development of the "Apple Car". According to sources familiar with the project, Cupertino plans to make a fully autonomous vehicle that could potentially be unveiled in 2025.
Recent staff changes in the Apple Car project (reportedly)
Michael Schwekutsch leaving the alleged Apple Car project is not the first such change we have seen recently. Earlier, we reported on the hiring of Christopher "CJ" Moore, another ex-Tesla engineer, who has joined the Apple Car project.
The engineer used to work over at Tesla and this year, he drew controversy for his remarks about the company's Autopilot feature. Moore is supposedly going to work on the software for the self-driving vehicle, and he will be reporting to Stuart Bowers.
Bowers, on the other hand, is another former Tesla executive who started working at Apple at the end of last year. Before that, he had led the Autopilot team over at Tesla and he had left in mid-2019.
This move by Apple implies that the company is going forwards with its attempts on making self-driving technology, which should therefore compete with automakers such as Tesla. Apple has never publicly disclosed exactly what its car plans are, however.
The Apple team currently (reportedly) working on the Apple Car has other ex-Tesla employees, with interiors head Steve MacManus. Several other people have recently left the company, including Doug Field (who was replaced by Kevin Lynch), head of robotics Dave Scott, and chief of safety Haime Waydo. Dave Rosenthal, another manager for the effort, also recently left Cupertino after leaving the project.
Kevin Lynch is also known for overseeing WatchOS and all of the company’s health-related software.
Currently, he has full leadership of the 'Apple Car' project, which is known internally as Project Titan. The former engineer, Doug Field, left the company after being with it for three years.
At the moment, it is still unclear whether Apple will really be able to launch the Apple Car by 2025.