As reported by foreign media, Michael Schwekutsch, the senior director of engineering for the Apple Car, has left and joined Archer as the senior vice president of engineering. The loss of yet another contributing player has casted a shadow over Apple’s target of releasing a fully self-driving EV by 2025.
Michael Schwekutsch was initially responsible for the supervision over power system development at Tesla. After leaving Tesla for Apple in 2019, Schwekutsch served as the senior director of engineering for the Apple Car, and was tasked to develop self-driving EVs.
The self-driving path of Apple has been a bumpy ride. Doug Field, an essential developer for the Apple Car, departed from Project Titan during September this year and headed to Ford. Apple then appointed Kevin Lynch, Apple’s watch software chief, as the supervisor for the company’s self-driving vehicle project. However, Lynch has been serving as the software chief all these years, instead of a supervisor for the hardware team, and has never worked in any auto companies. Thus, the industry believes that Apple may still focus on the basic software and self-driving technology, as opposed to physical mechanical operation.
There have been multiple replacements of managerial staffs, layoffs of engineers, and strategic changes since Apple initiated Project Titan in 2014. The departure of Field was regarded as a warning sign by the industry, and employees of Apple, at one time, believed that the product will not come to fruition within several years. However, these doubts are about to be eliminated after the takeover by Lynch, and the release of an Apple Car in 2025 is starting to feel hopeful.
It is rumored that Lynch has been paying close attention to Project Titan in the hopes of releasing a fully self-driving EV in 2025. Lynch also hopes that all products related to the project can offer 100% self-driving. Should the particular idea come to life, the Apple Car may not be configured with a steering wheel or pedals.
Investment analysts of Morgan Stanley believe that Project Titan may become a sharing service instead of an auto brand. Unless Musk’s idea of Tesla vehicles automatically becoming taxis when not in use is implemented, it will be difficult for Apple to compete with most auto manufacturers.
(Cover photo source: shutterstock)