After considerable success in the development of portable music players, smartphones and tablets, Apple seems ready to move on to the next big project. If reports are to be believed, Apple’s next project will be one with wheels.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Apple is developing its own automobile. According to the Journal’s sources, the tech giant has a thousand people working on a project codenamed ‘Titan.’ Project Titan is said to be the development of an electric vehicle that looks like a minivan, said one source.
While Apple works on many products, some of which never go into production, it seems the company is serious about its latest undertaking. The size of the team and the people involved in the project are proof. Most of the people working on the car project have worked with vehicle manufacturers, including the team leader. Sources said that Apple CEO Tim Cook put product design vice president and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky in charge of the project. The company also hired industrial designer Marc Newson (who created a concept car for Ford) and Johann Jungwirth (who headed the R&D lab of Mercedes-Benz).
Apple is also reportedly poaching employees from electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a Bloomberg report that the Cupertino, California-based company has been trying to poach some of their employees, though it only managed to poach a few.
The Journal said that the Project Titan team is working in a private lab some distance away from Apple’s headquarters. The team members are looking into things related to car manufacturing, such as materials and robotics.
Other reports seem to confirm the Journal’s story. Before the Journal’s article came out, BusinessInsider already cited an Apple employee who said that the tech company had something that will “give Tesla a run for its money.” Meanwhile, the Mac Observer also had a source who said that there is an 80 percent chance Apple had a car project in the works.
On Saturday, Reuters reported that Apple is currently exploring the development of a self-driving electric car. Citing a senior auto industry source, the news agency said that the company is seeking the help of experts working at automakers and automotive suppliers to learn how to make such vehicle. The source said that Apple has sought advice not only regarding production methods and connected car technologies but also the potential for automated driving.