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Faraday Future is working on a maps engine for self-driving cars, hires top maps expert from Apple


Faraday Future is working on its own maps engine technology for self-driving vehicles and this month hired a top expert from Apple to assist, Electrek has learned.

After reports in June that Apple had hired Sinisa Durekovic, a veteran software engineer that led development of satellite navigation systems used by BMW and others, now we learn that Durekovic this month joined electric vehicle startup Faraday Future.

Durekovic notably joins the team at Faraday Future working on a mapping engine for self-driving vehicles, according to sources. His move to Faraday Future comes after just one year at Apple.

Faraday Future’s plan for a mapping technology for self-driving consists of a proprietary engine that will utilize its own crowdsourced dynamic map in combination with a static map sourced from a third-party, according to sources familiar with the project. Mapping providers such as HERE, Sanborn, and TomTom are likely candidates to be third-party providers for the static maps used by the engine.

The company, which plans to have a car in production by the end of 2016, received approval for testing self-driving cars in California and elsewhere earlier this year. Test vehicles were spotted during the summer equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), but not much was known about its efforts on self-driving technologies. It did, however, hire other experts in the space recently, including Bosch’s engineering director and leading automated driving expert.

Bloomberg reported back in June that Apple hired Durekovic following his most recent position as chief engineer at Harman/Becker Automotive Systems leading development of the Harman Navigation System used by BMW and others.

Durekovic has over 20 years experience working on navigation software as a founder and lead of software development for Navigon, and as a technical lead and principal architect at Navteq before his most recent roles at Harman and Apple. His LinkedIn profile notes his main areas of expertise as “Map-Enhanced Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, Digital Maps and Car Navigation Systems.”

It’s far from the first hire by Faraday from Apple and other competitors. In August we reported that Tesla lost its head of data science to the company, while Apple’s Project Titan lost one of its self-driving and computer vision experts. We reported the same month that Faraday also hired a top electric propulsion expert and former EV1 Chief Engineer from GM. In September, The New York Times reported that Apple was restructuring the team working on its electric car project, noting that it “shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees”.

The latest update on Faraday Future’s in-development electric vehicle came late last month when its heavily camouflaged prototype vehicle was spotted on public roads in Los Angeles. Work at the company’s under construction $1 billion electric vehicle factory in Nevada continues, and late last month it reportedly signed a massive $2.4 billion supply contract with LG Chem for battery cells.

The company is expected to reveal more details about its battery supply agreement today.

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.