Sources told Bloomberg this week that Apple Inc. has hired Desi Ujkashevic to help the tech giant on its so-called Apple Car Project, which aims to develop a self-driving vehicle. Ujkashevic recently retired from Ford, where she held various positions starting in 1991. 

According to Ujkashevic’s biography on Ford’s website, she most recently served as the director of Ford’s Global Automotive Safety Engineering Office. Prior to that, she oversaw various engineering, safety, and technical operations projects. Through her varying roles, she assisted in the development of electric vehicles and also gained knowledge of regulatory matters that will undoubtedly arise throughout Apple’s quest to build an autonomous vehicle.  

The Apple Car Project began roughly seven years ago but has faced various obstacles from the start, including the replacement of almost every person on its management team. The most notable departure was that of Doug Field, who served as Apple’s vice president of special projects and was in charge of the Apple Car Project. He left the company in September of 2021 to serve as Ford’s “chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer,” according to a news release from the automaker.  

After Field’s departure, Apple replaced him with Kevin Lynch, who led the Apple Watch project. At the time, Apple said its goal was still to launch a car by 2025. Apple’s blueprint for the car is reportedly unclear, but the tech giant has said it wants the vehicle to be fully electric and not feature a steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. 

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