‘Apple Car’ Project Lead Steve Zadesky to Leave Apple

Apple VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be leading Apple’s electric vehicle development efforts since 2014, has informed colleagues that he will be leaving the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. He remains at Apple for now.

Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, joined Apple in 1999 and worked on the iPod and iPhone during his 16-year career in Cupertino. He is also named on several U.S. patents and documents related to Liquidmetal, a malleable alloy which Apple owns the exclusive rights to.

His impending departure from Apple is said to be for personal reasons, rather than an indication of his performance at the company, and marks a setback for Apple’s electric vehicle plans:

Still, the pending departure marks a setback for one of the most talked-about projects in the technology field. Apple has become the most valuable company in the world making consumer electronics products, but moving into the automotive sector poses big new challenges.

Apple has aggressively recruited engineers and other talent from Tesla, Ford, GM, Samsung, A123 Systems, Nvidia and elsewhere to work on the rumored „Apple Car“ project, which has allegedly been called „Project Titan“ internally. Just days ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even called the „Apple Car“ an „open secret.“

Last year, Apple also had discussions with a secure Bay Area testing facility for connected and autonomous vehicles, and met with the California DMV to review self-driving vehicle regulations. Further speculation arose when Apple registered a trio of auto-related domain names, including apple.car, apple.cars and apple.auto, earlier this month.

Apple’s electric vehicle could be approved for production by 2020, but some employees reportedly believe it „might take several more years“ for the iPhone maker to develop a truly differentiated electric vehicle. The project has encountered some challenges internally due to a lack of clear goals, according to the report.

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‘Apple Car’ Project Lead Steve Zadesky to Leave Apple

Has Apple given us much to be thankful for this year?

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(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Has Apple given us much to be thankful for this year?

Microsoft wants to build the Zune of driverless cars

Microsoft has brokered a deal with automaker Volvo to co-develop a driverless vehicle, according to a new report — putting it in competition with Apple’s rumored “Project Titan” Apple Car. “We are exploring a number of different collaborations,” says Björn Annwall, senior vice president of marketing, sales and services at Volvo. In addition to driverless […]

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Microsoft wants to build the Zune of driverless cars

Apple car expert snatched by Volkswagen

Johann Jungwirth, an autonomous car expert who joined Apple from Mercedes, has left Cupertino after just one year — being snapped up by troubled automaker Volkswagen. Breaking: @VW hires Johann Jungwirth away from Apple to lead automaker’s new “digitalization” strategy. — Phil LeBeau (@Lebeaucarnews) November 10, 2015 We covered Jungwirth’s arrival at Apple in some […]

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Apple car expert snatched by Volkswagen

Conspiracy theorist think Apple owns this mysteryious car company

A new electric car company has revved up Apple Car conspiracy theorist who think the mysterious automaker might actually be a shell company for Apple’s automotive ambitions. Faraday Future has already pulled in $1 billion in investments and is stocking up on top Tesla talent (just like Apple), but little else is known about the […]

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Conspiracy theorist think Apple owns this mysteryious car company

Apple Hires Engineer From Digital License Plate Company for Car Project

One of Apple’s recent hires is Rónán Ó Braonáin, who previously served as Director of Engineering at Reviver, a company that makes digital license plates. Braonáin joined the company in August, and as seen on his LinkedIn page, he’s working on Apple Special Projects as a „Secret Agent.“ Presumably that means he’s part of the team working on Project Titan, the codename for the Apple Car.

The profile, discovered by Electrek.co, says Braonáin led the Reviver engineering team for five months. Before that, he worked at Vision Fleet, building fleet management software to read data from electric vehicles, and prior to that, he was a software engineer at BMW working on connected car apps.

Reviver has produced Slate, a product dubbed „The World’s First Digital License Plate.“ The Slate is a connected plate that’s able to do things like monitor vehicle location and maintenance records and digitally send payments for tolls and parking fees. It also alleviates the need for physical stickers and manual registration processes.

Given Braonáin’s short time at Reviver, it’s not clear if Apple hired him for the work he did on digital license plate technology, but it’s possible it’s something Apple is considering for the Apple Car.

Braonáin is just one of dozens of hires with car-related expertise Apple has made in recent months. Apple has been hiring employees from companies like Chrysler, Tesla, NVIDIA, Volkswagen, and Ford, along with researchers who have expertise in autonomous vehicles and connected car systems.

Development on the Apple Car has sped up as of September of 2015, when the project reportedly received a „committed“ label. Apple is said to be targeting a 2019 completion date for the project and will make additional hires in the coming months and years as work on the car continues.

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Apple Hires Engineer From Digital License Plate Company for Car Project

Steve Jobs Passed on Building Apple Car in 2008 to Focus on iPhone

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who passed away in October 2011 following a lengthy battle with a rare illness, contemplated building a so-called „Apple Car“ as recently as 2008, according to his former advisor Tony Fadell.

Tony Fadell discussed an Apple Car with Steve Jobs in 2008 (Image: Bloomberg)

In an interview with Bloomberg, Fadell, who led Apple’s iPod division between 2001 and 2010, said he had discussions with Jobs on multiple occasions to hypothesize about what features an Apple-branded vehicle could have.

„We had a couple of walks,“ Fadell said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang. The pair posed hypothetical questions to each other, such as: „If we were to build a car, what would we build? What would a dashboard be? And what would this be? What would seats be? How would you fuel it or power it?“

Jobs, who drove a Mercedes, decided not to move forward with the idea at the time, said Fadell, instead focusing Apple’s efforts on the iPhone, which accounted for about two-thirds of the company’s net revenue last year according to SEC filings.

Fadell, who now serves as Nest Labs CEO at Google parent company Alphabet, said he does not have firsthand knowledge about Apple’s car plans, but he did reflect on the similarities between smartphones and modern vehicles.

„A car has batteries; it has a computer; it has a motor; and it has mechanical structure. If you look at an iPhone, it has all the same things. It even has a motor in it,“ said Fadell, who’s now the chief executive officer of Alphabet’s Nest home appliances company. „But the hard stuff is really on the connectivity and how cars could be self-driving.“

Apple has considered building a car before 2008, Bloomberg noted. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller disclosed in 2012 court testimony that Apple discussed building a car before the original iPhone launched in 2007, while former Apple board member Mickey Drexler has also said Jobs wanted to build a car.

Apple faces growing competition from tech rivals such as Tesla and Google, and traditional automakers, if it chooses to enter the electric vehicle market. Recent rumors suggest Apple has assembled a team of hundreds of employees to develop an electric vehicle that could enter production as early as 2020.

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Steve Jobs Passed on Building Apple Car in 2008 to Focus on iPhone

Mercedes won’t become Foxconn for the Apple Car

Steve Jobs may have famously driven a silver Mercedes SL55 AMG without a license plate, but don’t think that Mercedes-Benz is lining up to be the company that builds Apple’s much-rumored electric car. “We do not plan to become the Foxconn of Apple,” said Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, the company which builds Mercedes vehicles, speaking […]

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Mercedes won’t become Foxconn for the Apple Car