Apple car expert snatched by Volkswagen

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Johann_Jungwirth Credit: Merceds Benz http://next.mercedes-benz.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/PUX_Vorschau.jpg
Johann Jungwirth is no longer working at Apple.
Photo: Mercedes Benz

Johann Jungwirth, an autonomous car expert who joined Apple from Mercedes, has left Cupertino after just one year — being snapped up by troubled automaker Volkswagen.

We covered Jungwirth’s arrival at Apple in some detail, with my colleague Leander Kahney looking in-depth at his pre-Apple history and what he could potentially bring to his new (now old) role.

Jungwirth held the title “Mac Systems Engineer,” although this was more than likely a smokescreen given his past experience leading Mercedes Benz’s U.S. R&D lab, especially taken in context with the continuing rumors of an Apple Car.

At Volkswagen, Jungwirth will be working to “drive the digital transformation” of its brands, with the title of “head of digital transformation.” Like other traditional auto makers such as Ford, Volkswagen is keen to keep up with the groundbreaking work being done by tech companies such as Google, Tesla and (potentially) Apple.

Exactly why Johann Jungwirth left Apple isn’t clear. His LinkedIn profile says he’s now working on Tesla-style over-the-air upgradeability, along with creating, “the best and most natural and intuitive user experience to keep a competitive advantage” for Volkswagen. Just like the former senior director of Apple Music leaving Apple after a comparable period of time, however, you can’t help but wonder what this all means in the bigger picture.

Source: The Verge