Could be a huge asset to the company.
By: Noah Joseph
Apple has apparently taken a major step towards improving its digital mapping services. According to Bloomberg, the tech giant based in Cupertino, CA, has hired Sinisa Durekovic, the talent behind Harman's navigation system used by such automakers as BMW, Mercedes, and Audi.
Durekovic started out in 1994 at Navigon GmbH, which is currently owned by Garmin. He's reportedly spent the two decades since working on satellite navigation, including the past two years at Harman and now at Apple. Automotive News notes that Durekovic holds a patent on a collision-avoidance system that uses mapping data. He was reportedly hired in October in an unspecified role, and moved sometime thereafter from Garching, Germany – a suburb of Munich – to the San Francisco bay area. Although neither Harman nor Apple would comment on Durekovic's move, the smart money is on Durekovic heading up development of Apple's Maps program.
The hire is only the latest in a series of steps Apple has taken recently to improve its mapping service, which is generally regarded as inferior to that of rival Google. Apple recently opened a development center in India focused on mapping, and invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Chuxing that could also contribute to the improvement of its navigation platform. Currently over 40 automotive marques offer integration with Apple CarPlay, which brings Apple Maps, among other services, into the dashboard. By comparison, Google's Android Auto platform is supported by 18 car brands worldwide, with another 28 soon to follow.