The Project Titan team is feverishly working on Apple’s car, as the “ship date” is set for 2019 – Bloomberg previously reported 2020 – reports the Wall Street Journal. There are multiple signs pointing to Apple’s electric car: First, earlier in May Apple employees met with officials from Gomentum Station, a secure testing facility for autonomous and connected devices.
Apple has hired experts in driverless cars, but the people familiar with Apple’s plans said the Cupertino, Calif., company doesn’t currently plan to make its first electric vehicle fully autonomous. That capability is part of the product’s long-term plans, the people familiar with the matter said.
The 2019 target is ambitious. Building a car is a complex endeavor, even more so for a company without any experience. Once Apple completes its designs and prototypes, a vehicle would still need to undergo a litany of tests before it could clear regulatory hurdles.
Earlier last week the Guardian reported that Apple’s legal counsel had met with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), with the main topic of the meeting being autonomous vehicle testing regulations.
Following Tim Cook’s statement on Steve Colbert’s show that “we look at a number of things along the way, and we decide to really put our energies in a few of them,” the Wall Street Journal has learned that leaders of the project have been granted permission to triple the 600-strong team (previous rumours stated that Apple had a team with hundreds of engineers working on this project).
It certainly seems as though Apple sees an opportunity to enter the automotive market and apply its expertise to the next generation of connected cars.
At this point it is an open question whether Apple has partnered up with a manufacturer that will become its assembly partner like Foxconn, or it will build its own factory. What now seems to be certain is the 2019 ship date. But that could be subject to change as well.