Longtime Ford engineer Desi Ujkashevic has left the company and opted to join Apple to work on the Apple car project, reports Bloomberg. Ujkashevic has been with Ford for over 30 years, and she has expertise in safety systems, engineering design deliverables, body interior engineering, and more.
Before to departing Ford for Apple, Ujkashevic served as the Global Director of Ford’s Automotive Safety Engineering Office, but prior to that, she was an Engineering Director. From Ford’s website:
In her previous role, she was the Engineering Director for North American Vehicle Programs where she was responsible for Engineering for Car and Utility Programs managing engineering design deliverables including achievement of cost, profit, quality, and timing objectives. Prior to this, Desi was the Global Director, Interiors Engineering where she led the Strategy, Program execution, Quality and launch for Interiors on all Global Programs. Previous to this, Desi completed a 3-year international assignment in Germany, serving as Ford’s Director of Engineering for Body Systems and Design Operations.
Ujkashevic first joined Ford in 1991, and worked her way up the ranks over the years. She had a hand in the development of the Ford Escape, Explorer, Fiesta and Focus, plus she worked on electric vehicles. Ujkashevic has a wealth of expertise that will benefit the Apple Car project, and she could be involved in helping Apple develop safeguards for its electric vehicle.
Bloomberg has previously said that Apple wants the Apple Car to be safer than cars from Tesla and Waymo, with backup systems to avoid driving system failures.
Apple has been regularly hiring from Ford and other automotive companies for the past several years as it works to develop a fully autonomous vehicle. The Apple Car project has faced ongoing leadership issues and Apple’s goals have shifted several times, but the latest rumors suggest that Apple is on track to deliver a car sometime in the next decade.
Apple is said to be aiming for a 2025 launch, but issues with the car development could push the project back to as late as 2028.