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Volkswagen hires ex-Apple Director

Published on: November 12, 2015
Volkswagen hires ex-Apple Director

What's the news?

Volkswagen Group has hired Johann Jungwirth to head up its newly-established Digitalisation Strategy Department. Jungwirth, 42, was previously employed by Apple as Director, Mac Systems Engineering at its Cupertino headquarters - a position he took over in 2014. At Apple he had responsibility for innovation in design and engineering in product development as well as playing a supporting role in the company's Special Projects Group. It is not known as to whether the latter included any involvement with the much rumoured Apple Automobile project that appears to operate under the name Project Titan.

Prior to his short tenure at Apple, Jungwirth spent a number of years at Mercedes-Benz and in 2009 was appointed as President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America. Based in Silicon Valley, he and his team worked on a number of key areas including autonomous driving, powertrains, electric drive along with user interface and telematics. The Romanian engineer also held the position of Vice President Infotainment and Telematics from 2008 to 2014.

In his new role at Volkswagen Group, Jungwirth will report directly to Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Group. The exact remit of this new Digitalisation Strategy Department has not yet been officially outlined but given the previous track record of its new head it seems likely that a push to further advance Volkswagen Group's on-board technologies is underway. It has already demonstrated degrees of autonomous driving with its RS 7 prototype called Bobby and the new A4 has Level 2 autonomous features, while the next-generation A8 is set to have an even higher degree of autonomy.

It is also likely that more advanced user interfaces will be fast-tracked in a bid to keep up with the competition, where systems such as gesture control in the new BMW 7 Series for example, are now being offered to customers.

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