At the Company, Desi Ujkashevic worked on Vehicle Safety, Regulatory Challenges, and more.
According to Bloomberg, Apple has hired a senior Ford engineer and executive to work on its long-gestating automobile project. Desi Ujkashevic worked for the company since 1991. Ujkashevic was Ford’s worldwide director of automobile safety engineering before leaving in March.
She was formerly in charge of the global body engineering team, Ford of Europe’s safety engineering, and the global design technical operations division. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ujkashevic worked in car engineering, testing, and durability during her early years at Ford. She has also assisted Ford with its electric vehicle ambitions as well as regulatory difficulties. In other words, she appears to be the type of person you’d want to hire for an electric vehicle project.
According to reports, Apple began developing an autonomous vehicle in 2015. However, those initiatives have had repeated setbacks over the years, owing in part to changes in strategy and staffing. Last September, Doug Field, who was alleged to have led Project Titan, quit Apple to rejoin Ford. However, the reported hiring of Ujkashevic is another another sign that Apple is still working on its own electric vehicle.
For what it’s worth, Ujkashevic recently stated on LinkedIn that she is “happy to begin my next adventure and I aim to continue to contribute to society and advance technology with a purpose […] ultimately create a better world!”
Over the last year, there has been a lot of turnover. Aside from Field, Apple has lost significant executives in the areas of hardware engineering, robotics, and sensors. High-ranking engineers have gone to join flying taxi businesses in some circumstances.
Following Field’s departure, Apple named Kevin Lynch, the company’s head of Apple Watch and health software, to lead the project. Lynch is a well-known software engineering manager who has never led the development of a car before. Nonetheless, under Lynch’s leadership, the business has pushed to speed up the project, with the objective of announcing a product by 2025.
Apple would be competing with Tesla, Lucid Group, and established manufacturers in the race to introduce electric automobiles with an Apple car. Ford has been particularly aggressive in the electric vehicle space recently, with a campaign to electrify America’s best-selling vehicle: the F-150 pickup truck.
As part of the initiative, Apple is also attempting to master autonomous driving, an auto industry holy grail that tech companies like Alphabet’s Waymo are also attempting to master.