Apple Engineering Veteran Departs For EV Maker Rivian

A veteran Apple executive who has worked on future home devices and Apple’s electric car project is leaving the company to start at electric vehicle firm Rivian starting on Monday.

The departure of DJ Novotney, formerly one of Apple’s vice presidents of engineering, is the latest of a number of senior departures at the company.

Novotney is to become Rivian’s senior vice-president of vehicle programmes, reporting directly to chief executive RJ Scaringe, according to a Bloomberg report, making him one of Rivian’s most critical executives.

Rivian, which makes an electric pickup and electric sport-utility vehicle, as well as an electric delivery van for Amazon, is considered one of the top contenders taking on Tesla in the EV market.

Rivian’s R1T electric pickup truck. Image credit: Rivian

Engineering veteran

Novotney informed colleagues of his departure in a Friday memo in which he recalled his work on the iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.

“Great products are what we do best and I have been so very lucky along the way to be part of so many amazing teams,” he wrote.

“Apple has been my life, but now is the time for me to move on and help bring to life a new set of products.”

Novotney was at Apple for nearly 25 years and was instrumental in developing several generations of the iPod and iPhone.

He helped lead development of the iPad and was brought onto Apple Watch development by Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams and former head designer Jony Ive.

Rivian’s electric delivery van for Amazon. Image credit: Amazon

Electric car development

About a decade ago Novotney helped launch development of Apple’s electric car project, code-named Titan, before shifting to developing future home devices, including some that use robotics and artificial intelligence.

At Rivian he will lead product management for products and engineering, a role temporarily filled by Scaringe himself after the previous executive in charge stepped back.

Apple’s vice president of product design for the iPhone and Apple Watch, Tang Tan, is leaving the company in February for Ive’s design firm LoveFrom, and former Apple hardware technologies lead Steve Hotelling left late last year, amongst other departures over the past two years in hardware, operations and services.

After multiple delays Apple’s car project has currently been pushed back to a 2028 release, and has been reduced from a target of full self-driving to having limited autonomous functions, such as lane positioning and adaptive cruise control.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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