Apple has lost a senior member of its autonomous electric car team to a startup focused on electric aviation. Michael Schwekutsch, who left Tesla to join Apple as senior director of engineering for the Special Projects Group in 2019, left the company to work for Archer. This is just the latest situation regarding revolving doors, which surrounds Apple’s long-term effort to develop an electric vehicle with self-steering functions.
CNBC was the first to announce the change of job. Schwekutsch’s LinkedIn profile confirms the move from Apple to Archer where they now serve as SVP engineers.
Prior to working at Apple on his mysterious EV project codenamed Project Titan, Schwekutsch was vice president of engineering at Tesla and oversaw the development of the powertrain. Previous experience before Apple includes working on Tesla’s Roadster, Semi and what is now known as Cybertruck.
Three months ago, Apple saw key player Doug Field leave the Project Titan team for Ford. Field originally left Apple to work for Tesla before returning to serve as vice president on the group’s special projects team.
The departure came after Apple transferred Kevin Lynch to the lead role in the Apple Car project. His career began at Adobe before he joined Apple to lead the technology team for the Apple Watch.
Recently, Lynch has reportedly focused on the Project Titan group to aim for product debuts as soon as 2025. Lynch also wants to see complete self-driving on offer on anything derived from Project Titan, and the EV may not include steering wheel or pedals if its vision come true.
In response to these reports, Morgan Stanley investment analysts released a report claiming the Titan Project is likely to become a “shared service, not a car-owned one”, potentially removing Apple from competing with most carmakers selling cars today – unless Elon Musk’s vision of Tesla EVs becoming autonomous taxis when the owners don’t use them becomes a reality.
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