Apple Car Engineer Leaves Company For Electric Flying Taxi Startup

Another Apple Car engineer has decided to leave the company for a startup.

CNBC reports that Apple’s Senior Director of Engineering, SPG, Dr. Michael Schwekutsch, has left the tech giant to develop flying taxis with Archer Aviation.

“After almost 3 years Apple, it was time for a new challenge. I recently joined Archer Aviation in Palo Alto. Creating solutions for sustainable air mobility will be the next big challenge for me,” Schwekutsch wrote in a LinkedIn post.

Schwekutsch was part of the Apple Car project for nearly 3 years before taking the Senior Vice President Engineering Propulsion position at Archer Aviation.

Archer Aviation is currently working on air taxies powered by electricity that take off and land vertically. So far, the company has developed one such vehicle and it can carry one passenger and one pilot, while a model for four passengers is also reportedly in the works. Archer Aviation seems to be planning to operate urban air mobility services in Los Angeles and is currently awaiting FAA certification.

Before Apple, Schwekutsch worked at Tesla for almost 4 years, from October 2015 to March 2019. Given his time at Tesla, Schwekutsch was present for the Model X and Model 3 ramp. He held a few positions at Tesla, including VP Mechanical Powertrain, VP Engineering, Drive Systems & Vehicle NVH, and VP Engineering.

The move is the latest example of staff turnover in Apple’s secretive car project. Former VP of special projects Doug Field left in September to lead Ford’s emerging technology efforts, a priority for the legacy automaker under its new Ford+ turnaround plan.