Any big automotive hire from Apple sparks renewed interest in the ongoing Apple car project. The latest presents as one of the most tangible signs. The iPhone maker still sees a future for itself in the auto industry.
The last recruit, in May, was reportedly Luigi Taraborrelli, the former head of chassis and vehicle dynamics at Lamborghini. Luigi Taraborrelli’s 20-year career at the Italian supercar maker is almost a big red herring. It will be the type of vehicle Apple will manufacture.
The latest idea was reported by Bloomberg and others. The secretive eight-year-long Project Titan is now only a self-driving car with a 2025 launch date. Passengers will face off against each other in a sleek capsule, or so the most recent reports suggest.
If Apple launches an autonomous car in 2025. It would be a test car with a limited role as a public robotaxi in the manner of the Cruise Chevrolet Bolts that roams San Francisco.
Apple, of course, has ambitions for its next car. Recently, he introduced the latest version of CarPlay. Carplay comes face-to-face with Google’s Android Automotive, to take more control of maps, audio, and phone calls.
CarPlay enhances the driving experience with deeper integration into vehicle hardware. It will allow drivers to control their music, change temperature and check their fuel levels. It would be possible all from a single integrated platform,” CEO Tim Cook said on Apple’s earnings call in July.
Apple hopes automakers will realize that instead of wasting precious resources developing their software, they’d be better off tapping into Apple’s system, which can reach deep into the car to offer a host of features, such as showing speed and economy or providing remote services. With direct control over the core processors and sensor links, autonomous driving would be the next logical step.
The sheer number of experienced automotive executives and engineers who end up at Apple’s base in Cupertino. Southeast of San Francisco, suggests that a car is Apple’s ultimate goal.
Also in May, Apple welcomed experienced Ford executive Desi Ujkashevic. Ujkashevic had been director of engineering for North American programs for the Blue Oval. In June, Apple hired Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive who oversaw the development of the BMW i3 and i8. He later ran Californian electric vehicle company Canoo.
The Brits are also well represented there, and Pete Jolley, former chief engineer of concept and innovation at Aston Martin. Aston Martin and now ‘director’ at Apple since February last year.
From time to time, a large number of car people will leave, including last year the former head of Apple special projects, Doug Field, who moved to Ford. That sparks rumors that Apple has gotten fed up and is about to cancel, as it did with the Apple TV developed long ago but never released.
A self-driving car would give Apple a good long track to solve its production problem. The early years’ needs will run into hundreds of vehicles, not thousands.
The company won’t want to build the car, but it also hasn’t had much luck persuading anyone else to do so, reportedly failing to reach a deal with Hyundai.
Apple has kept its lips closed on the progress and ambition of its automotive exploits. With tech rivals, Sony, Huawei, and Xiaomi joining the electric car fray and several startups. Even established brands turn to contract manufacturers to launch major new models. The viability of the project is only becoming more pertinent.