Apple may have plans to extend into the market of electronic vehicles. Though the company has remained silent on the issue, there are reports that Apple has started hiring experts of the automobile industry for a major project.
Over the past months a large amount of veterans in this field have started working for the tech giant, though little information exists on the exact nature of their work. Their numbers seem to reach up to 200. They were recently joined by Doug Betts, who has been working at Fiat Chrysler for seven years, being in charge of global quality control.
With his impressive portofolio, it is unlikely he was hired to work on the newest line of iWatch apps. Apple has also reportedly hired Paul Furgale, a European lead researcher in the field of autonomous systems. All of this probably means Apple wants to quickly expand in this emerging market.
The project all these people are working on is supposedly codenamed Titan. It is probably aimed to be a major competitor to Google’s Driverless Car project. In fact, it is likely that the project will be finished by 2020, the same year when Google has announced its plans of releasing the Driverless Car to the public.
This possibly signifies that the project has already passed its early prototype stages. Indeed, Apple is focusing a lot of resources on this new undertaking, so much that they are reassigning staff from other divisions. This has led some managers to raise concerns that some of the already entrenched and profitable products may be at a detriment due to this project.
Other companies have also started protesting, with battery builder A123 systems and Tesla Motors claiming that Apple is trying to steal their staff away. Regardless, the tech giant is clearly pushing hard for this project to continue.
This may be a risky move by Apple whose expertise obviously lies in a completely different industry. But the market for autonomous vehicles seems to be already very promising, even if no model has been released for public use yet.
Recently, the UK has released an official set of guidelines on how self-driving car tests should be conducted, as well as part of a £100 million fund to incentivize developments in the field. In the U.S., five states have already passed legislation that provides for such tests.
With other countries also announcing their support for this new technology, it come as no surprise that Apple wants to quickly grab a share of the market.