Apple has hired Canoo co-founder Ulrich Kranz to help lead its autonomous car project, according to a Bloomberg report.
About a month ago, Kranz stepped down as CEO of Canoo, a self-driving electric vehicle startup. Before co-founding the company, he worked at BMW for 30 years and was SVP of the group that developed the i3 and i8.
Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a self-driving electric car to rival Tesla Inc. and other carmakers. Kranz will report to Doug Field, who led development of Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 and now runs Apple’s car project, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss a private matter.
Apple started developing its own vehicle back in 2014 but paused the effort in 2016 to focus on a self driving platform. Last year, John Giannandrea, SVP of Machine Learning and AI, was put in charge of the project.
According to Bloomberg sources, Apple restarted full scale efforts to build an electric car several months ago. Development remains in the early stages and a launch is likely at least five years away.
Kranz’s hire follows the loss of three key executives from Apple’s team. It’s unclear why they left.
More details in the full report linked below…