Is Apple looking to get into the car business?Reports have emerged that the tech giant has an electric vehicle in development, devoting its significant clout to the project.
The Wall Street Journal has reported Apple has seven hundred employees working on an Apple-branded vehicle, according to people familiar with the matter.
Code-named “Titan”, the project is initially angled at working on the design of a vehicle resembling a minivan, according to one of the WSJ’s sources.
Should the project come to fruition, it would represent a significant move by Apple into a market in which consumer tech is playing an increasingly important role.
The connected car was a particular focus at this year’s CES, with manufacturers providing a preview of what the market may well look like in five years’ time.
In-car connectivity is a well-established trend in the market, while manufacturers such as Ford and Aldi also provided a glimpse of the future with their respective work into the development of fully autonomous vehicles.
Reuters has reported Apple is working on a self-driving electric vehicle, citing a senior auto industry source familiar with the discussions.
“Fully automated driving is an evolution – car makers will slowly build the market for autonomous cars by first releasing connected and partially automated cars,” Reuters reported the source as stating.
“Apple is interested in all the potential ways you can evolve the car; that includes autonomous driving.”
The reports follow the emergence of photos, posted online by Bar Area blog Claycord, of a van decked out with an array of cameras on the streets of Concord, California, with CBS affiliate KPIX 5 tracking the vehicle to Apple.
There is no guarantee the project will ultimately lead to the commercial development of an Apple vehicle, however it appears Apple is serious about it.
The WSJ has reported its sources as stating the size of the project team and the senior people involved indicate Apple’s intent, with Apple executives having flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers for high-end cars.
Apple’s involvement with the auto industry currently includes its CarPlay software service, integrating iPhone functionality into car dash displays, with Apple working in conjunction with a number of manufacturers.