Apple loses 'Apple Car' senior director of engineering to electric aviation startup

Posted:
in General Discussion
A former Tesla alum has left his position as senior director of engineering for the Special Projects Group at Apple to work for electric plane startup Archer Aviation.

Image Credit: Archer Aviation
Image Credit: Archer Aviation


Michael Schwekutsch joined Apple in March 2019 after departing Tesla.

He worked within Apple's Apple's Special Projects Group. The group is home to some of Apple's most clandestine work, including projects like the still unannounced "Apple Car."

CNBC has discovered that Schwekutsch had recently departed Apple, moving to join electric air taxi start-up, Archer Aviation.

Archer is currently working on electric-powered air taxies that take off and land vertically. The company has developed one air taxi that can carry one passenger and one pilot and is currently developing a four-passenger model. According to CNBC, Archer plans to operate urban air mobility services in Los Angeles, pending FAA certification.

It is believed that Apple continues to push forward with the development of the "Apple Car." Sources familiar with the project have stated that Apple plans to make the vehicle fully autonomous and gives the project a potential launch date in 2025.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley recently advised clients it expects the forthcoming "Apple Car" to be the "ultimate EV bear case," and affect stocks in rival automotive companies.


Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.

    I don't expect it to ever ship, and I can't imagine that it's ever going to be a huge impact on the car market even if it does.  Maybe I'm wrong - but nothing I've seen so far suggests I am.

    Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.
    Roderikusmacplusplusdk49curiousrun8williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Indeed. Project Titan sadly is a black hole for aitomotive talent. Many get in, nver to be heard from. Only the more courageous escape for something more compelling.
  • Reply 3 of 18
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,593member
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.

    I don't expect it to ever ship, and I can't imagine that it's ever going to be a huge impact on the car market even if it does.  Maybe I'm wrong - but nothing I've seen so far suggests I am.

    Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.
    Remember though that Tesla came from almost nowhere, so it shows it can be done from scratch. But I'd wager Tesla spent billions less developing their first car than Apple has spent on developing apparently nothing.
    Roderikus said:
    Indeed. Project Titan sadly is a black hole for aitomotive talent. Many get in, nver to be heard from. Only the more courageous escape for something more compelling.
    It certainly seems to be a last stop for Apple's best talent before they quit. Whether that's because they're unable to function due to Apple's throttling secrecy around the project or because they can't ever see it being a success will no doubt be leaked one day. I wouldn't want to waste my effort on something that is unlikely to ever be a success due to not reaching some unattainably high bar for release.
    byronl
  • Reply 4 of 18
    Sounds like the heavy lifting is done. QC and testing galore coming up. Looking forward to seeing disguised development mules on the road. 
    Can't wait for this thing to launch.
    watto_cobrarepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 5 of 18
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 917member
    I don't know the likelihood of an Apple Car every getting lift-off, but this air-taxi company Schwekutsch jumped ship for seems even more speculative. 
    entropyswatto_cobrarepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 6 of 18
     Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s almost exactly what they said about Apple making a cell phone.
    rundhvid9secondkox2Detnatorwilliamlondonwatto_cobrarepressthisbyronl
  • Reply 7 of 18
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,593member
    kerrymill said:
    “ Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s almost exactly what they said about Apple making a cell phone.
    This is true, but a car is an entirely different beast to an iPhone. An iPhone is 45% electronics, 45% software and 10% mechanical design. Apple had 30 years of cutting edge software and electronics experience when they produced iPhone, which is a small Mac in essence.  But a car is 90% mechanical design, 5% electronics and 5% software, though the latter two are slowly growing. Apple has almost no experience in the sort of mechanic design that's part of a car, complex drivetrains, power electronics, gears, suspension systems, mechanical safety compliance etc etc. Apple's dynamic (moving) hardware experience extends to little more than keyboards (look how well that turned out), fans and hinges. As well as that, there are very few separate mechanical parts an iPhone or a Mac, whilst there are tends of thousands of individual parts in a car. Since Apple refuses to outsource for the car or use a shared platform, they would need a small army of mechanical engineers, which they do not have. Apple's hardware looks nice, but looking nice doesn't mean they would be successful in designing a car. 
    edited December 2021
  • Reply 8 of 18
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 917member
    kerrymill said:
    “ Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s almost exactly what they said about Apple making a cell phone.
    True. But with the number of new EV car company startups, all undercapitalized, I would think Apple would be in a better position. 

    And, who knows, maybe these new startups exist simply to be bought out by the likes of Apple. 
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 9 of 18
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.

    I don't expect it to ever ship, and I can't imagine that it's ever going to be a huge impact on the car market even if it does.  Maybe I'm wrong - but nothing I've seen so far suggests I am.

    Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.
    First to post, childish first to negative - how MacRumors, thanks for continuing to bring this forum down to their level. [rolls eyes]
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,063member
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.
    By this silly harebrained logic it’s also “evidence” that Tesla is a failure - they lost him first!

    Nah. You’re not an analyst, just an anti-fan. It’s always bad news for you guys. 
    edited December 2021 williamlondonwatto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 11 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,142member
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.
    By this silly harebrained logic it’s also “evidence” that Tesla is a failure - they lost him first!

    Nah. You’re not an analyst, just an anti-fan. It’s always bad news for you guys. 
    You're equating Apple's car project with Tesla the company.  If Tesla lose an engineer that's probably less than ideal for them on the particular project the engineer was working on, but they're clearly coping with it; Tesla have shipped many cars.  Apple seem to be losing a lot of engineers and have shipped no cars.  That is bad news.
    muthuk_vanalingambyronl
  • Reply 12 of 18
    Sounds like the heavy lifting is done. QC and testing galore coming up. Looking forward to seeing disguised development mules on the road. 
    Can't wait for this thing to launch.
    You are funny. Try again. I know one engineer who left Apple after conflict with managers who have no clue on QC and automated testing in macOS development (and he came from finance where testing is almost fully automated and very strict). He was in GM working on autonomous and now is in Amazon Zoox (I gave him professional references as we worked for six years together). It takes years to develop it. I heard from him that GM was already riding on San Francisco roads and passed the tests... yet no word on final results.

    Maybe Apple cannot decide if they should go autonomous or just electric. Strategy choice can be a killer to ideas and to talented headcount.
    williamlondonbyronl
  • Reply 13 of 18
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.
    By this silly harebrained logic it’s also “evidence” that Tesla is a failure - they lost him first!

    Nah. You’re not an analyst, just an anti-fan. It’s always bad news for you guys. 
    Maybe she/he/they is just skeptical about Apple ability in completely new area. Did you think about that?
    williamlondonmuthuk_vanalingambyronl
  • Reply 14 of 18
    I believe Apple can do that and even find fans who would be willing to pay $100,000-$200,000 just because it is so good that it is even better than Tesla and Toyota Mirai. Only occasional glitches... like everyone else has.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 18
    byronlbyronl Posts: 232member
    elijahg said:
    kerrymill said:
    “ Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s almost exactly what they said about Apple making a cell phone.
    This is true, but a car is an entirely different beast to an iPhone. An iPhone is 45% electronics, 45% software and 10% mechanical design. Apple had 30 years of cutting edge software and electronics experience when they produced iPhone, which is a small Mac in essence.  But a car is 90% mechanical design, 5% electronics and 5% software, though the latter two are slowly growing. Apple has almost no experience in the sort of mechanic design that's part of a car, complex drivetrains, power electronics, gears, suspension systems, mechanical safety compliance etc etc. Apple's dynamic (moving) hardware experience extends to little more than keyboards (look how well that turned out), fans and hinges. As well as that, there are very few separate mechanical parts an iPhone or a Mac, whilst there are tends of thousands of individual parts in a car. Since Apple refuses to outsource for the car or use a shared platform, they would need a small army of mechanical engineers, which they do not have. Apple's hardware looks nice, but looking nice doesn't mean they would be successful in designing a car. 
    an electric car is 30% software, 20% mechanical design, 30% electronics and 20% battery technology
    williamlondon
  • Reply 16 of 18
    byronlbyronl Posts: 232member
    Sounds like the heavy lifting is done. QC and testing galore coming up. Looking forward to seeing disguised development mules on the road. 
    Can't wait for this thing to launch.
    designing the car is nothing compared to production. the heavy lifting hasn’t started yet
  • Reply 17 of 18
    darkvader said:
    More evidence that the Apple car project is continuing to be a failure.

    I don't expect it to ever ship, and I can't imagine that it's ever going to be a huge impact on the car market even if it does.  Maybe I'm wrong - but nothing I've seen so far suggests I am.

    Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.
    You ignore history...Tesla had no prior Auto knowledge, SpaceX had no prior aerospace knowledge, Apple had no prior computer, cell phone knowledge, yet they all are on top.  And you ignore the fact that a start up can HIRE THOSE THAT KNOW...hello?
    edited December 2021 williamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 18
    byronl said:
    elijahg said:
    kerrymill said:
    “ Apple has no experience in its history that suggests it's capable of being a successful car company.”
    I’m pretty sure that’s almost exactly what they said about Apple making a cell phone.
    This is true, but a car is an entirely different beast to an iPhone. An iPhone is 45% electronics, 45% software and 10% mechanical design. Apple had 30 years of cutting edge software and electronics experience when they produced iPhone, which is a small Mac in essence.  But a car is 90% mechanical design, 5% electronics and 5% software, though the latter two are slowly growing. Apple has almost no experience in the sort of mechanic design that's part of a car, complex drivetrains, power electronics, gears, suspension systems, mechanical safety compliance etc etc. Apple's dynamic (moving) hardware experience extends to little more than keyboards (look how well that turned out), fans and hinges. As well as that, there are very few separate mechanical parts an iPhone or a Mac, whilst there are tends of thousands of individual parts in a car. Since Apple refuses to outsource for the car or use a shared platform, they would need a small army of mechanical engineers, which they do not have. Apple's hardware looks nice, but looking nice doesn't mean they would be successful in designing a car. 
    an electric car is 30% software, 20% mechanical design, 30% electronics and 20% battery technology

    I'd say EV is 80% battery knowledge...
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