‘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.

Related Roundup: Apple Car
Tag: Steve Zadesky
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Ford adds Siri Eyes Free functionality to 5 million of its cars

The Apple Car may be a few years off, but a new deal signed between Ford and Apple is bringing Siri to 5 million more cars. According to a new report, a software update available today means that any Ford owners who bought a Ford car with SYNC functionality after 2011 can take advantage of […]

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


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Ford adds Siri Eyes Free functionality to 5 million of its cars

The Apple Car may be a few years off, but a new deal signed between Ford and Apple is bringing Siri to 5 million more cars. According to a new report, a software update available today means that any Ford owners who bought a Ford car with SYNC functionality after 2011 can take advantage of […]

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


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Ford adds Siri Eyes Free functionality to 5 million of its cars

The Apple Car may be a few years off, but a new deal signed between Ford and Apple is bringing Siri to 5 million more cars. According to a new report, a software update available today means that any Ford owners who bought a Ford car with SYNC functionality after 2011 can take advantage of […]

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


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Ford is already preparing for a world with the Apple Car

Ford is the latest auto manufacturer to be forced to “think different” as a result of the impending arrival of tech companies like Apple in the car industry. Specifically, Ford is reshuffling some of its management team — giving new director of corporate strategy, Michael Seneski, the job of seeking partnerships with tech giants. This will […]

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


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Apple Hires Nvidia AI Director With Experience in Self-Driving Car Systems

Apple has hired Nvidia’s Jonathan Cohen, director of deep learning software for the company, according to Cohen’s LinkedIn page, which was first spotted by Re/code. Deep learning essentially trains computers to recognize patterns in data and then organizes them in a similar way to humans. Nvidia uses deep learning in its Nvidia Drive PX platform, which is used to power self-driving cars.

Cohen’s LinkedIn page doesn’t list an official title with Apple, instead only listing „Software“ as his position. He’s held multiple positions within Nvidia since joining the company in 2008, starting out as a Senior Research Scientist and building his way to Director of Deep Learning Software this year. Cohen also has experience working with Nvidia’s CUDA platform, which is used to power GPUs in broad-ranging use cases like air traffic control and blood flow prediction software.

As noted by Re/code, Apple currently uses deep learning for Siri and Apple Maps. It’s unknown what Cohen’s expertise could be applied to at Apple, but at this year’s CES Cohen was explaining how Nvidia’s deep learning technology was being used in its self-driving car platform Drive PX.

Apple has met with California DMV officials regarding self-driving car laws within the state and multiple reports from The Wall Street Journal indicate that the Cupertino company is exploring the functionality with the possibility of including it in a later iteration of the much-rumored Apple Car.

In recent years, Apple has poached employees from Tesla, Ford, GM, A123 Systems and Samsung for its secretive automotive project. More recently, it’s hired away talent from electric motorcycle startup Mission Motors, who had to close its doors after the talent drain. In September, it was reported that Apple was labeling the car project a „committed project„, speeding up development and aiming for a 2019 launch date.



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Ford brings Siri Eyes Free support to older vehicles

Ford owners with a second-generation Sync infotainment system can now get Apple’s Siri Eyes Free feature for iPhone on the car dashboard, thanks to a new Sync 3.8 update. The second-gen Sync system is found on Ford vehicles made since 2011 and earlier, but the company is just now making Siri Eyes Free available on […]

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


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Toyota shuns CarPlay for some nav system you’ve never heard of

Instead of using Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system or Android Auto in its 2016 vehicles, Toyota has decided to use a company you’ve probably never heard of to provide navigation and phone connectivity. Toyota’s first vehicle with the tech will be the 2016 Tacoma pickup, outfitted with a Scout GPS Link unit from Telnav Inc. The […]

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Apple brings innovation and competition to auto industry, Ford says

We still don’t even know if Apple is really building an car (even though there are a lot of signs that it is), but whatever the iPhone-maker’s next play in the auto-market is, the company’s about to generate a lot of innovation and competition in the market, says Ford CEO Mark Fields. During Fords second-quarter […]

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Ford Working With Apple on CarPlay, But Won’t Give Up Control of the Dashboard

Ford has promised to bring CarPlay to its vehicles and is listed as one of Apple’s CarPlay partners, but Ford executives say the company will also focus on compatibility with Android and its own Ford SYNC in-car infotainment system to give consumers as much choice as possible. In an interview with Re/code, Ford CTO Raj Nair explained that the company doesn’t want people making car choices based on their smartphones.

CTO Raj Nair said part of the reason behind that is ensuring that car buyers have choice. „We want to make sure you are not pushed into a decision on a $40,000 car based on your $200 smartphone,“ Nair said.

Ford, like the other car makers, also sees its infotainment system, known as SYNC, as a key selling point. „The data shows SYNC has been a significant draw in the showroom,“ Nair said.

Ford’s focus is on SYNC, but the company says that it is planning to support Android Auto and CarPlay and will look to integrate SYNC more closely with both systems. According to Nair, a customer who wants to use Google Maps but listen to Sirius radio using SYNC will be able to do so.

Despite not wanting to hand over control of its in-car infotainment systems to Apple and Google, Ford is eager to embrace new technology. At the meeting with Re/code, Nair was wearing an Apple Watch sporting one of the apps that the Ford team built in a week. A MyFord Mobile research app that links the PHEV Fusion Energi, C-MAX Energi, and Focus BEV cars to the Apple Watch was shown off on Twitter earlier today.

Image via Said Deep, Head of Ford North America Product Communications
Ford’s upcoming SYNC 3 system is set to debut this summer with support for both CarPlay and Android Auto. Following the launch of the new system, Ford should be releasing vehicles with CarPlay support by the end of 2015.




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