A number of reports say Apple is working on a self-driving electric car. While there has been no confirmation from Apple, reports from The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters both claim their sources tell them that Apple is working on such a vehicle.
Technology giant Apple is learning how to make a self-driving electric car and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers, an automotive source familiar with the talks said on Saturday.
The Cupertino, California-based maker of phones, computers and watches is exploring how to make an entire vehicle, not just designing automotive software or individual components, the source said.
“They don’t appear to want a lot of help from carmakers,” the source, who declined to be named, said.
The Wall Street Journal claimed in its report that the car is not a self-driving model. Reuters’ source is from the automotive industry, while WSJ’s source is claimed to be inside the company.
The WSJ claims Apple has hundreds of employees working to design an Apple-branded electric vehicle under the code name Project Titan. A team of that size indicates that the company is serious about the project, but it’s well known that Apple’s research efforts don’t always produce products, and the research does involve individual components that could benefit Apple in other projects.
“Apple may decide not to proceed with a car. In addition, many technologies used in an electric car, such as advanced batteries and in-car electronics, would be useful to other Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. Apple often investigates technologies and potential products, going as far as building multiple prototypes for some things that it won’t ever sell. Any product would take several years to complete and obtain safety certifications.”
The WSJ report claims Apple CEO Tim Cook approved the project last year, giving former Ford engineer and Apple design vice president Steve Zadesky permission to build a team of up to 1,000 employees largely from within the company to work on the project.
An unmarked van with rooftop cameras, similar to the one originally spotted roaming Bay Area streets earlier this month, was captured on video in Palo Alto, California. MacRumors obtained the footage from their reader Jonathan Shiu, who videoed the van as it drove past Juana Briones Park on Clemo Avenue, located approximately 10 miles from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino.
Rumors about Apple working on a vehicle first began circulating last week, following the sightings of mysterious vans leased to Apple and equipped with numerous cameras on Bay Area streets. Some speculated that the cars were part of a possible mapping project, while others believed that they were part of a self driving vehicle project.