Apple Car, code name Project Titan, is facing a talent drain issue. Another senior engineer, Micheal Schwekutsch has left Apple to join an electric plane startup ‘Archer’ as its senior vice president of engineering.
Prior to joining Apple, Schwekutsch worked at Tesla as vice president of engineering and oversaw the development of powertrain, and worked on Tesla Roadster, Semi, and upcoming Cybertruck. He joined Appel in 2019 as senior director of engineering for Special Projects Group, presumably to work on the development of Apple Car, the company’s autonomous passenger vehicle.
With talent drain at the senior level will Apple Car launch by 2025?
In September, former Apple Car chief Doug Field joined Ford Motors as its chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer and recently, Apple’s former global head of battery development Soonho Ahn joined Volkswagen to develop batteries for its electric vehicle (EV) projects. According to CNBC, Schwekutsch will lead Archer’s battery and electric motor development division as the aviation company wants to launch its air taxis by 2024.
Schwekutsch’s strong portfolio suggests that his departure can be considered another major setback to Apple Car’s development. Reportedly, the Cupertino tech giant is working on a new revolutionary battery technology that will deliver a longer range and better power efficiency.
A former VP of engineering at Tesla, Schwekutsch holds more than 100 patents related to vehicle design, worked on prototypes for the Tesla Plaid systems, and led production of electric drive systems for several vehicle models from Tesla, Porsche, BMW and others, according to his online resume.
Archer is working on electric-powered air taxis that take off and land vertically. Like competitors Lilium and Joby Aviation, Archer aims to transport passengers on short trips, avoiding traffic on the ground and the noise and emissions generated by traditional fuel-burning aircraft and cars.
Having said that, led by Apple Watch software executive Kevin Lynch, the company is pursuing an ambitious launch of its electric vehicle by 2025 because of increasing competition in the self-driving automobiles industry. Recently, Apple Car’s team was joined by former Tesla autopilot CJ Moore which is working to deliver a level 5 autonomy for EV, a fully self-driving capability without any human intervention.