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American technology giant Apple had been working on a self-driving car for a while now. While news like the letting go of 200 employees from the self-driving car project, made it seem that the Project Titan was slowly grinding to a halt, Apple newest hiring for its Special Projects Group may kick those rumours to the kerb. Apple has poached Tesla's Vice President, Engineering Michael Schwekutsch, who worked on projects like the Model 3, next-gen roadster and the Tesla electric truck.
Electrek, who first reported about the hiring of the Schwekutsch by Apple for its Special Projects Group, which the publication states also includes Apple's self-driving car project, Project Titan.
Schwekutsch, is a very well known figure in the automotive industry with regards to electrified powertrains and before his stint in Tesla was working with auto suppliers like BorgWarner, GKN Driveline and Getrag transmissions.
He has previously worked on notable projects like the BMW i8 hybrid sports car and Porsche's 918 Spyder hypercar among others. Schwekutsch is working with Apple as the Senior Director of Engineering, Special Projects Group.
Schwekutsch is the latest Tesla employee to have been poached by Apple in the past few months. In December 2018, the Cupertino-based technology giant (best known for its iPhones and Macintosh laptops) hired Tesla's former senior designer, Andrew Kim from Elon Musk's electric car company.
In January 2019, Apple booted out 200 employees from Project Titan after Doug Field, another former Vice President of Engineering from Tesla, rejoined the Cupertino firm in August 2018. Field is currently the Vice President of the Special Vehicles Projects at Apple.
These high profile poachings from Tesla along with other hires (like a former Waymo show that Apple's self-driving car project is far from dead and buried and if anything looks more focused on bringing a proper electric car to the market.
DriveSpark's Thoughts On Apple Hiring Tesla's Former Powertrain Chief
Apple's Project Titan self-driving car project has always had a cloud of secrecy hanging over it. However, the hiring of Schwekutsch and other former Tesla employees suggest that the Cupertino-giant may very well be looking to enter the electric car market with a self-driving vehicle. Tesla may very well have to watch its back.