Apple has hired a senior executive from Ford, where he had been working for a long time, to help him with the development of the Apple Car, especially with regard to its safety aspect. Desi Ujkashevićuntil now global director of safety engineering at Ford, will lead the Cupertino manufacturer’s project, which has one of its main priorities in safety, a very necessary aspect in a future in which the Apple Car, in addition to competing in the electric car market, it will also do so in the autonomous market.
Ujkashevic was included in the list of the 100 leading women in the automotive industry in North America by Automotive News in 2010 and 2015. He had been with Ford since 1991. His most recent role was as global director of security engineering. Previously, his work focused on supervising exterior, interior, chassis and electrical engineering for many Ford models including the Ford Escape, Explorer, Fiesta and Focus, as well as the Lincoln MKC and Aviator. He has also collaborated in the development of the Ford’s new electric vehicles and has experience in regulatory issues, a key aspect for Apple to be able to put an electric car with a high capacity for autonomous driving on the road in the coming years.
For now, the Cupertino company has refused to comment on this hiring, while Ford did announce that Ujkashevic had undertaken new projects outside the company.
An Apple Car and several different projects
Production of the Apple Car is seen as the “next big thing” for the US tech company, a new category of products that may prevent its sales growth from stalling. The project has suffered numerous changes in strategy and changes in the team of people They have taken care of it since it started about seven years ago.
The signing of Ujkashevic suggests that Apple continues to advance its project for an electric and autonomous car despite the conflicting information in this regard that have been produced during this last year. The project management team has been almost completely replaced since it was in charge of Doug Fieldan executive who left precisely for Ford last year.
In addition to Field’s departure, Apple lost several key managers in charge of hardware, robotics and sensors. In some cases, engineers in these positions chose to join new companies in the eVTOL aircraft and electric flying taxi industries.
Following Field’s departure, the company appointed kevin lynch, head of health software and Apple Watch developer to oversee the project. Lynch is a well-regarded software engineering manager, but he has never led the development of a vehicle before. Even so, the company has sought to accelerate the project under his command, with the aim of announcing a definitive product by 2025.
Safety, a pillar of the Apple Car
Apple kicked off its electric car project in 2015, but has had some trouble laying out a clear vision for it. His intention is to be totally autonomous, which would imply elimination of the traditional steering wheel and pedals. Another of the company’s priorities has been emphasize vehicle safety. To that end, Apple is looking to develop highly protective systems. solid and redundant with several layers of backup systems that are activated to prevent safety failures in the driving system.
It’s here where Ujkashevic could have his most important role within the project. Apple hired Jaime Waydo as its security leader in 2018, but the veteran Waymo executive left the company last year. Ujkashevic is now one of the few team managers to come directly from the car industry, although she is not the only one.
Other names who also have experience in this sector include Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive and former head of startup Canoo hired last year, Stuart Bowers, a former Tesla executive who worked on autonomous driving software, and Jonathan Sive. , former manager of Tesla, Waymo and BMW.