Apple Hires Ex Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Boss

FEB 26 2015 BY STAFF 17

Apple is without a doubt getting into the car business, be it through more connected features, a self-driving car, or a secret project, dubbed Titan.

Apple has hired Johann Jungwirth, ex-president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development. According to his freshly updated LinkedIn profile, Jungwirth is now Apple’s Director of Mac Systems Engineering.

At Mercedes-Benz, Jungwirth oversaw a number of key areas: Connected Car, UI & Telematics, Autonomous Driving, Advanced User Experience Design, Powertrain & eDrive, Advanced Exterior Design & MB Style, Group Research, and Testing & Regulatory Affairs.

Jungwirth led Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America since March 2009 before joining Apple’s Mac team in September of last year. Doug Field, an Apple VP of Design and later Mac Hardware Engineering, notably left the company in 2013 to join Tesla.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out here.

The high level hire follows much speculation on what Apple might have planned in the car segment. Previously reports mentioned an employee poaching war between Apple and Tesla, and even a hint at a play that Apple might make in the future to acquire Tesla.

Other reports say Apple Chief Design, Jonny Ive, and his team has held regular meetings with automotive executives and car designers in recent months, in some cases trying to hire them.

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17 Comments on "Apple Hires Ex Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Boss"

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Apple is hiring former MB personal for development of a funky Apple vehicle. I’m sorry but I have to call that very smart and as we all know Smart was MB’s funky car project that ended up losing it billions.

Maybe there is a lesson her for Apple, it’s not easy to do some sort of life style vehicle brand. Also it may not be wise to bet too big on the whole autonomous vehicle thing. I can see it work perfectly in highly conditioned circumstances like highways, but in the gritty reality of urban traffic I think the the behavior of a relatively obtuse driving robot will quickly become frustrating for a car’s occupants that will end up considering the manual override its best feature.

Don’t even think about doing a car that has no manual input option at all.

While I strongly agree with your facts, there is one totally illogical reason why I think the iCar (or whatever they decide to call it) will be a rousing success: Apple fans will line up to buy it, just like they do ever generation of iPad and iPhone.

I suspect that the iCar will be a pretty basic EV, with lots of techie stuff ladled on, and some (ahem) quirky styling that will send the Leaf haters into full-blown exorcism mode. Oh, and it will carry a premium price.

The Apple fans not only won’t be dissuaded by any of this, they’ll have multiple Os over how much better their iCar is than any other vehicle in the history of transportation, etc.

Personally, I will find this whole phenomenon, assuming it plays out this way, extremely annoying. But if it gets more people away from the gasoline pump and driving on electrons, then great! Bring it on.

Chris O said:

“Don’t even think about doing a car that has no manual input option at all.”

Yes, I was rather boggled to read that Google now has at least two “driverless” cars with no steering wheel or pedals. I can envision a future in which most cars are entirely robotic, but surely there must be at least a transition period where State laws require a licensed driver at the wheel, until the safety of self-driving cars on public roads is well established.

I equate driverless cars to robotic policemen.

Would you like that authority with a gun and power to use deadly force to be running on Windows 8?

“Manual override?” – LOL. If you want to read your iPod on the way to work with a cup of coffee, take public transportation…

Agreed!

“Would you like that authority with a gun and power to use deadly force to be running on Windows 8?”

Ofcourse not. It might actually start treating blacks like human beings !

Excuse me? What The Fark?

This guy goes from lifeless inhuman robots run by computers carrying guns and tazers to
policemen being racist?!!!

HUH?!!!

I seriously doubt you have any understanding of law enforcement in these United States. Do you believe everything you hear on cable news? Every single minute of every single day, law officers put their lives in jeopardy. It’s their jobs. Strangely, when a real case of police fraud, or incompetence comes up – it’s buried by all the times media and some tax-dodging “Reverand” who makes his money inciting racism against anyone he can gets airtime. Why do we support unlawfulness and make excuses for a guy robbing a convenience store who resists arrest and physically attacks an officer?

Where is the injustice of a policeman defending himself? What’s sad, is the majority of America sees what happens when we do right, and become afraid to hold up the law. When someone given authority to enforce laws does injustice to someone of a minority status – it’s upheld as the norm. In fact, it is not. It’s the exception.

iMouse-car

Yes, the concept art does remind me of a computer mouse on wheels…

Hmmm..I wonder if you could get a self driving Google car with a backseat full of explosives to drive on a busy highway bridge?
Boom!!!
I hope there is some sensor looking for something other than weight in the driver seat before the car takes off.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

I would ecpect some sort of biometric validation being implemented.

I have no doubt that Apple, Tesla, Google, and others will bring the next “Automotive” industry to Silicon Valley.

Apple VP of design Sir Jony Ive was partying with Elon Musk at Madonna’s last Sunday after the Oscars. They were described as being ‘inseparable” for several hours.

That means merger/partnership. AppleTesla will redefine the automotive industry much like Apple redefined the smart-phone industry in 2007.

Silicon Valley will redefine every industry….

One key piece of the iCar story that hasn’t gelled yet is manufacturing. Buying Tesla maybe one option, but the recent Foxconn comments about potentially building EVs should not be overlooked. The high electronics content and elimination of the complicated ICE make it one of the few growth opportunities for a huge CM like Foxconn/HonHai.

Apple has perfected the “design in California, build in China” model, and Foxconn/HonHai is their biggest partner. Bringing that high volume consumer products model to vehicle manufacturing would have a greater impact than anything Tesla could do on its own.

Regardless, it’s becoming clearer every day that something big is cooking in Cupertino.

China took a position today defending Russia’s aggression. This could threaten any business alliances going forward. In that case, “Design in California, build in USA” will be the winning strategy.