Sinisa Durekovic, the chief navigation engineer at Harman International Industries, now works for Apple where he'll presumably lend his expertise to the company's electric car project and Maps service. HII is the company that makes the in-car satellite navigation systems used by Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Apple isn't talking about his job, but we're betting it involves the Apple Car's onboard navigation system.
Apple gets a car navigation pro with Sinisa Durekovic hire
So far Apple isn't saying exactly what Mr. Durekovic will be working on, according to Bloomberg, but we do know he joined Apple last October. We also know he started with Navigon—now part of the GPS company Garmin—in 1994, and has been involved in various satellite navigation software projects over the past 20 years, and there's a patent in his name for a map data system that prevents car collisions.
Considering his long history, it's a safe bet he's involved in Apple's own navigation services and most likely that involves the Apple Car and by extension CarPlay. Apple will no doubt want its own in-car navigation system instead of relying on third parties, and someone with Mr. Durekovic's experience would be an asset to that team.
That said, the on board navigation systems in most cars are clunky and mediocre—something Apple definitely won't want for its electric vehicle. Mr. Durekovic's efforts will hopefully produce something far better for Apple because he can focus on a single platform, meaning Apple Car, instead of shooting for the lowest common denominator necessary for supporting multiple vehicles from several car manufacturers.
Mr. Durekovic has been with Apple for a little over half a year, so we probably aren't seeing much of his touch on the company's navigation services yet. That could change, however, on June 13 when Apple hosts its Worldwide Developer Conference keynote event where we'll likely see previews of the next versions of OS X and iOS, and could hear more about other products such as HealthKit, HomeKit, and possibly CarPlay. His biggest contributions probably won't show up at this year's event and instead will appear when the Apple Car is finally announced.
Apple's list of car-related hires keeps growing, most recently with former Tesla Vice President of Vehicle Engineering Chriss Porritt recently coming on board in April. The company reportedly has hundreds of employees working on the car project, many of whom came from Tesla and other car makers.
Mobile battery maker A123 Systems even sued Apple for poaching its top battery engineers. The company said it had to shut down one of its big projects after losing key employees to Apple.
The Apple Car is looking more and more like a sure thing as the company continues to bring in top people, and with Mr. Durekovic on board it seems in-car navigation is coming together, too.