Apple, former Tesla engineer, Michael Schweikuch joins Archer Aviation

Attendees watch the Archer Aviation Maker launch on June 10, 2021 in Hawthorne, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images

Michael Schweikuch, CTO of Apple’s Special Projects group, which is reportedly working on self-driving cars, has left to join electric air taxi startup Archer as senior vice president of development. Shveikuch noted the change in his LinkedIn Page on Wednesday.

The move is the latest example of employee turnover in Apple’s secret auto project. Former vice president of special projects Doug Field stepped down in September to spearhead new technology developments at Ford, a priority for the former automaker in line with its new Ford + modernization plan.

The move also indicates that climate technology startups can attract the most skilled engineers. A former VP of Engineering at Tesla, Schwekutsch has over 100 vehicle design patents, has worked on prototypes of Tesla Plaid systems and has led the production of electric drive systems for several car models from Tesla, Porsche, BMW and more, according to its online summary.

Archer is working on electric air taxis that take off and land vertically. Like rivals Lilium and Joby Aviation, Archer strives to carry passengers on short journeys while avoiding ground movement, noise and emissions from traditional airplanes and fuel-powered vehicles.

The company has already developed a model known as the Maker that can carry one passenger and a pilot, and is working on a four-passenger model. The company plans to provide urban air mobility services starting in Los Angeles after its aircraft are approved for commercial use by the FAA.

Founded in 2018 and based in Palo Alto, California, Archer went public in September following its merger with Specialized Acquisition Company (SPAC) Atlas Crest Investment Corp.

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Archer earlier announced that United Airlines not only invested in its business, but also placed a $ 1 billion order for its all-electric aircraft with the option to purchase an additional $ 500 million over time.

According to commercial aviation data, in 2019, carbon dioxide emissions were 785 million tons. study International Council for Clean Transport.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association predicts that the number of air passengers will rise to more than 85% of the pre-pandemic level next year and exceed the pre-pandemic level by 5% in 2023.

Apple’s electric car threat

Apple has never admitted that it is working on a car, but since 2014, numerous media reports have been tracking its progress, and it has trials of a self-driving car. permit in California, and CEO Tim Cook indirectly referred to the company’s interest.

However, the threat that the well-capitalized tech titanium will introduce a driverless electric car has caught the attention of investors in the automotive and tech industries.

In a note released Wednesday, Morgan Stanley analysts Katie L. Huberty and Adam Jonas talked about what an Apple car might look like when it hits the market and how it will affect Tesla and the electric vehicle market in general.

Jonas wrote: “One of the things that we think drives Elon Musk and Tesla’s mission is” Can we make an electric car better than a Volkswagen “or something.” Instead, he said, Tesla is motivated to gain every possible competitive advantage before Apple makes its move. “The fear that Apple could turn Tesla into a BlackBerry is one of the things that we think motivates Tesla and their mission,” he said.

Apple declined to comment, while Archer and Schwekutsch were not immediately available.

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