Reportedly, the Cupertino tech giant’s next big venture is an entry into the autonomous automobile industry with the launch of the Apple Car (codename Project Titan) by 2025. Unlike other electric vehicle manufacturers, Apple’s team of Project Titan is developing an electric vehicle with level 5 autonomy, complete self-driving capability without any human intervention. But the tech giant is a facing talent drain issue.
Bloomberg reports that three more engineers have left Apple to join electric aviation startups. Their departure is followed by the exit of key senior executives this year. Former Apple Car chief Doug Field joined Ford Motors as chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer, Apple’s former global head of battery development Soonho Ahn joined Volkswagen to develop batteries for its electric vehicle (EV) projects, and former engineering for Special Projects Group Micheal Schwekutsch joined Archer as its senior vice president of engineering.
Apple Car engineers leave to work on flying taxi projects
As per the report, all three of the former Apple Car engineers joined electric aviation companies, Joby Aviation and Archer.
Eric Rogers, billed as Apple’s chief engineer for radar systems on the project, left for flying-taxi startup Joby Aviation Inc. in recent weeks.
Alex Clarabut, an engineering manager for the team’s battery systems group, joined Archer Aviation Inc., another company working to develop air taxis.
Stephen Spiteri, an Apple hardware engineering manager, left to join Archer as well. Joby and Archer confirmed the appointments, which underscore a push by aviation startups to nab Silicon Valley talent.
With growing competition in the autonomous automobile industry, Apple is pursuing an ambitious launch time for its first electric vehicle by 2025 with revolutionary battery technology and complete self-driving capability. Thus departure of Eric Rogers who oversaw the development of radar systems can be considered a setback, after the departure of the global head of battery development.
Having said that, Apple hired Urlich Kranz (former head of self-driving car startup Canoo and led electric vehicle development at BMW) and CJ Moore (former self-driving software director at Tesla Inc.) who are likely to play a key role in helping the tech giant achieve its goal.