Apple Car Hardware Engineer Leaves for Air Taxi Startup

Apple's Car project recently lost one of its engineering directors, with Michael Schwekutsch departing the company to join air taxi startup Archer Aviation.

Apple car wheel icon feature triad
As discovered by CNBC, Schwekutsch updated his LinkedIn profile to note that he has taken on a role of senior vice president of engineering at Archer. Archer is an aerospace company that is developing an all-electric aircraft that supports vertical takeoff and landing for navigation within cities.

Schwekutsch first joined the Apple Car project in March of 2019, and he served as a senior director of engineering on the special project group, aka the Apple Car team. Prior to that, he was Tesla's vice president of engineering.

Apple's car development has seen continual management shifts over the course of the last few years. Back in September, special projects vice president Doug Field left Apple for Ford after a three-year stint heading up Apple Car development alongside Bob Mansfield and John Giannandrea.

AI chief John Giannandrea is still overseeing Apple Car development, but with Field's departure, Apple recently brought on Apple Watch chief Kevin Lynch to pitch in. Under Lynch's leadership, the Apple Car project is moving ahead, with Apple aiming to produce a fully autonomous electric vehicle. Apple wants to design a self-driving car that does not require human intervention, a goal that car manufacturers have yet to achieve.

Apple is planning to launch a self-driving car within four years with an aggressive launch timeline around 2025, but whether Apple can achieve that goal remains to be seen.

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Top Rated Comments

DocMultimedia Avatar
33 months ago
I think the only thing this project does is hire people so they can do nothing and leave after one year. Goal of project: keep stock price high.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
koruki Avatar
33 months ago
Anyone else think this so-called Apple Car is going to turn into the next Apple TV which went from premium high-end TV ... to a cheap little box you connect to your current TV?
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chaos215bar2 Avatar
33 months ago
The things rich people tell each other so they can feel better about themselves:

Humans were destined to explore. But we put ourselves inside vehicles that slowed us down. Not anymore. Experience how Archer’s eVTOL aircraft are powering everyday flight.
Archer’s marketing really is quite something.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chivkea Avatar
33 months ago
How about instead of doing R&D on cars, open a division on battery R&D.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
joey0 Avatar
33 months ago
What is wrong with this project and why is the only thing we know about it the people who are leaving and coming in
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdriftmeyer Avatar
33 months ago
None of these ‘losses' are key personnel. They are managers. Whether from Apple, IBM, Sony, Tesla, Microsoft, you name it. They spend 95% of their time in office meetings, reading emails and checking up on progress of their teams work.

There was a reason Ives said the team at Apple was the strongest when he left. They were doing all the design work, with him having final oversight only. These MVP talents aren't athletes in professional sports. Stop sensationalizing them. Every key person in Apple has a special project(s) focus with scores of the best where they are constantly focused on their idea eventually reaching to market.

Drive train engineers aren't key personnel. You can hire dozens working on cutting edge projects in universities around the globe to replace them. Stock options take years to vest and when you jump you leave all unvested at the door. This guy took a post with a SVP because he's been promised this company when it goes public he'll get his huge pay day. In a startup, everyone is an SVP early on. Then the hierarchies are formed and the grunts come in and do the bulk of the work. The man worked at Apple for under 3 years. His options weren't large or he'd have stayed. His special projects group focus must not have kept his interest. You don't go from autonomous vehicles to sky cab because you are the most insightful financially.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)