This week, the internet has been a-buzz about Apple’s latest rumored product: an electric Apple car. While initial reports seemed dubious, the past week has certainly seemed to turn the rumor into a very probable reality.
The electric car, which is rumored to be codenamed “Titan”, seems to have a team of more than 1,000 employees, which is spearheaded by former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky, who became lead over a year ago. Apparently Apple has begun to aggressively hire employees from the automotive industry for the new secretive research lab, especially engineers who specialize in battery technology. Other major names on the project include Johann Jungwirth, the former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development. A current LinkedIn search shows that forty-six Apple employees formerly worked at Tesla. The sources of these rumors have also suggested that the initial design of the car is similar to a minivan.
The rumors also suggest that the Apple Car will be self-driving. The rumor, while initially laughable, has definitely grown some depth. A couple of years ago, a tech company would have no interest in expanding the automobile industry. Yet, based of CES 2015 alone, the relationship between cars and tech is closing. Tesla alone gives precedent to this. Even Google is creating small cars that are self-driving.
Apple’s in-car software platform called CarPlay, which has many iOS features like Siri and iTunes to the car dashboard was already being developed in collaboration with car manufacturers. But, the transition for vehicles to become more integrated into our daily lives is very real, and Apple, of all companies, seems to be leading the race in that department.
Apple has been known to begin a research and development team on a new technology, but never take it to market. For example, the long-since-rumored “iTV” now seems like it will never make it to mass market, but we know that they build a prototype. So it is entirely possible that the iCar will never make it on the road, and even if it does, it won’t happen for several years.