Rumours of a so-called Apple Car have been on the rise recently, as a new report claims that the Cupertino-based smartphone maker is working on an electric car, with several hundred people assigned to the top secret project.
Apple Car – fact or fiction?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the secret project is codenamed project “Titan”, and the company has “several hundred” employees working on the project. Apple CEO Tim Cook apparently gave the green light to the project a year ago, and executives from the company have already met with potential manufacturers such as Canadian company Magna Steyr. The person said to be running the project is Apple’s iPod and iPhone designer Steve Zadesky (who used to work for Ford).
The team also apparently has its own secret development and test facility away from Apple’s main 1 Infinite Loop campus – which could eventually have as many as a thousand team members, and Zadesky has been given free reign to pull in other Apple employees as he sees fit. The group is allegedly working on “robotics, metals and materials consistent with automobile manufacturing”.
The Wall Street Journal’s report comes from similar reports from the Financial Times which also claims to reveal a top secret research lab filled with automobile executives. We already know that the former head of research and development at Mercedes-Benz Johan Jungwirth joined Apple as a systems engineering leader late last year.
The company’s chief design guru, Jony Ive, is said to be recruiting executives from the car industry personally, and last week CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, revealed that Apple has been trying to poach employees from the electric car firm, offering huge bonuses up to $250,000 and 60% pay rises.
Apple also reportedly has several designers working on the project who used to work for Lamborghini, according to
Mysterious Apple vehicles spotted across the US
There have been rumours of an Apple Car for many years (in fact the late Steve Jobs already said that he’d love to design a car), but recently they rumours have picked up pace as it was discovered that Apple had a mysterious fleet of vans laden with sensors driving around the US recently. However, those vans are almost certainly aimed at improving Apple’s maps with streetview-type features similar to Google Maps.
In any case, any Apple Car is probably years away from production, if it exists at all. Nobody knows whether it will be an autonomous, self-driving vehicle, or a more traditional electric vehicle. On the other hand, all the rumours may just be related to Apple’s CarPlay in-car entertainment initiative (which lets iPhone owners control in-car music and maps etc) or Maps. We may be in for a long wait to find out…
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal