What does a company with a bajillion dollars in the bank do with some of that cash? Build a car. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple is doing just that. The tech company reportedly has hundreds of people working on an electric vehicle (self-driving car) under the code-name Titan.
The project is code-named Titan and the design resembles a minivan, according to the report. The Cupertino, California-based company has assigned several hundred employees to the vehicle. While a car may not ultimately result, some Apple executives have flown to Austria to meet with contract manufacturers of high-end cars, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter. Apple already has expertise managing a vast supply chain and has technology that may lend itself to an electric car. The company has long researched battery technology for use in its iPhones, iPads and Macs. The mapping system it debuted in 2012 can be used for navigation. Last year, Apple also introduced CarPlay, a software system for automakers to use in its cars that integrates iTunes, mapping, messaging and other applications. Apple has batted around the idea of developing a car for years. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing, said in 2012 court testimony that executives discussed building a car even before it built the iPhone, which was released in 2007. Mickey Drexler, an Apple board member and head of J Crew Group Inc., also said in 2012 that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had wanted to build a car....Apple has hired from the auto industry over the years. Steve Zadesky, vice president of iPhone product design and who the Wall Street Journal reported is in charge of Titan, joined Apple 16 years ago from Ford Motor Co., where he was an engineer for three years. Over the past two years, Apple also hired Haran Arasaratnam from Ford to work as a battery engineer, according to Arasaratnam’s LinkedIn profile. Apple also brought on Robert Gough in January to work on special projects. He’d spent the past four years at auto supplier Autoliv working on projects including the company’s radar division and developing active safety sensor technology, according to his LinkedIn profile.Apple investigates new product areas regularly and it's possible this car will never see the light of day, but and however, the size of the team and the executives hired to work on the project means there's a greater chance it will make it to market. In addition, a mysterious van with cameras all over it (video, below) has been seen roaming the streets of San Francisco and New York in recent weeks. Plus, earlier this month an Apple employee told Business Insider: "Apple's latest project is too exciting to pass up. I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money." We shall see.