Apple has hired a key Lamborghini executive to jumpstart its self-driving electric car project
Apple has hired a key Lamborghini executive to jumpstart its self-driving electric car project

United States: Apple has hired one of Lamborghini's top car-development executives, according to people familiar with the situation, indicating that it is working on a self-driving electric vehicle.

For those who asked not to be identified because the matter is not public, Apple hired Luigi Taraborelli, a 20-year veteran of the Italian carmaker, to help lead the design of Apple's future vehicle. Taraborelli was most recently Head of Chassis and Vehicle Dynamics at Lamborghini.

After years of setbacks and turmoil, the move is another sign that Apple is committed to building a car. Taraborelli, with his experience, becomes one of the most senior managers of Apple's EV team, bringing some exotic-car panache to the effort.

The executive worked on Lamborghini models such as the Urus, Huracan and Aventador, as well as more limited editions such as the Huracan Sterato off-road vehicle and the Asterion concept car. According to his LinkedIn profile, he oversaw Lamborghini's chassis development as well as handling, suspension, steering, brakes and rims.

An Apple representative declined to comment on the hiring.
Apple hired the 31-year-old Ford Motor Company veteran to lead its vehicle-safety efforts earlier this year. Ulrich Kranz, the former CEO of struggling electric-car maker Canu and former head of BMW's electric-car business, was hired last year. Previously, Apple hired Stuart Bowers, the former head of Tesla Autopilot, to work on self-driving technology.

Engineers from hundreds of former Tesla and other car companies are working on the Apple project, including Rivian Automotive Inc., Alphabet's Waymo, Volvo Cars and Mercedes-Benz Group. Its team also includes former senior design executives from Tesla, McLaren, Porsche and Aston Martin.

According to Bloomberg, the company plans to introduce a car around 2025 that allows riders to face each other in a limousine-like interior. Apple has the bigger goal of developing a car with no steering wheel or pedals that relies entirely on autonomous technology, though many team members and industry observers doubt such a move is possible on the company's current timeline.

Despite recent additions, the team has lost key members including the former head of the project, Doug Field, and artificial intelligence expert Ian Goodfellow. Field joined Apple in 2018 after leading Tesla's vehicle programs. He left Apple after nearly three years to join Ford, a relatively short time for an Apple executive in charge of a major initiative.

Kevin Lynch, who also oversees the company's Apple Watch and health software teams, and John Gianandrea, the company's head of machine learning, are currently in charge of the car project. Apple has been developing an electric vehicle since at least 2014, but the project has been plagued by upheaval, including leadership changes, strategy shifts and layoffs.

Apple and Lamborghini have a long history. To help people preview the Huracan EVO RWD Spyder, the carmaker released an Apple-based augmented reality feature in 2020. Apple's head of marketing at the time said the company "cares deeply" about Lamborghini.

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