Apple hires Desi Ujkashevic, a Ford veteran, to expand its electric-car work.
Apple Inc. has hired a former Ford Motor Co. executive who oversaw safety and vehicle engineering, indicating that the iPhone maker is resuming the development of an electric vehicle. According to people familiar with the situation, the tech giant hired Desi Ujkashevic for the car project.
Apple has reportedly hired Desi Ujkashevic, a former Ford executive, as the company prepares to launch an electric vehicle in 2024.
According to multiple reports, Ujkashevic, Ford’s global director of safety engineering, will join Apple to assist in the development of a fully electric autonomous vehicle.
Ujkashevic joined Ford 31 years ago and has worked in a variety of departments, including developing electric vehicles. She has worked on a variety of Ford and Lincoln SUVs, as well as Ford’s Fiesta and Focus compact cars.
According to TechCrunch, Ujkashevic could assist Apple in navigating regulatory hurdles in testing self-driving prototypes on public roads.
“Her engineering and safety protocol expertise can also assist Apple in its project,” the report said late Tuesday. The autopilot chip for Apple’s car is being developed in collaboration with a South Korean company.
According to TheElec, Apple developed its car’s autopilot technology in collaboration with a South Korean outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) company.
Apple is reportedly following in Tesla’s footsteps. While developing its autopilot chip, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company used Samsung memory and outsourced assembly to Just Stats ChipPac Korea.
Apple Car is also expected to use LED screens throughout the vehicle to keep other drivers informed about the self-driving system’s activities.
The display would include graphics and video to show braking information, vehicle speed, and other messages.
The upcoming Apple Car is expected to feature a ‘C1’ chip based on the A12 Bionic processor, as well as in-cabin AI and features like eye-tracking.
According to the publication, Apple’s AI and machine learning chief John Giannandrea is leading the Apple Car project, and Kevin Lynch, who worked on the Apple Watch, has also joined the Car team. The Car team is said to be largely responsible for Apple’s push toward a self-driving car.
Desi was the Global Director of Ford’s Global Automotive Safety Engineering Office until recently. She was in charge of all program safety strategies (including autonomous vehicles), corporate rule-making, advanced strategy development, Field Service Actions, and Program Safety compliance.
She was also a member of the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America and the Transportation Improvement Association’s Board of Directors (TIA).
She previously worked as the Engineering Director for North American Vehicle Programs, where she was in charge of engineering design deliverables such as cost, profit, quality, and timeliness.
Desi was previously the Global Director, Interiors Engineering, where she was responsible for the Interiors Strategy, Program Execution, Quality, and Launch for all Global Programs.
Desi previously served as Ford’s Director of Engineering for Body Systems and Design Operations for a three-year international assignment in Germany. Desi has extensive experience in the global automotive industry, leading Product, Quality, and Operational Excellence with a focus on improving the Automotive Customer Experience and enabling advanced technologies to meet current and future mobility demands.