Apple Making More Progress on Car Than Expected: Daimler CEO

Just how are things going with Apple and their secret car project? According to Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche, speaking with German weekly publication Welt am Sonntag (via Reuters), a recent trip to Silcon Valley has revealed companies like Apple and Google have progressed more on their car projects than he had assumed:

“Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed. At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought,”


“There were concrete talks. I will not say anything about the content. It was not just about the fact that there is an innovative spirit in the Valley. We know that already. We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it,”

Zetsche and other senior managers met up with roughly 70 unnamed companies during their visit to Silicon Valley, assuming Apple was one of them.

Last year, Zetsche said he would not be sleepless at night if Apple was working on a car, only later to say Mercedes-Benz would be open to working with tech companies like Apple or Google. Now? It sounds like he’s impressed with what Silicon Valley has been able to do with automobile tech.

Just last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk called the “Apple Car” an “open secret”. Last year, sources told Bloomberg Apple has plans to release an electric car as early as 2020.

That timeline may or may not be hindered by the recent news of Steve Zadesky, the head of Apple’s so called “Project Titan”, announcing his departure from the company.

Apple last week also reportedly leased a 22,000 square-foot space in Kanata, just outside of Ottawa, in what appears to be for R&D purposes, that just so happens to be next door to QNX, BlackBerry’s automotive arm.

Andrew Poliak, the global director of business development for QNX Software Systems, responded late last week to the Ottawa Business Journal’s original story of Apple’s leased space in Kanata.

Poliak told Journal QNX first worked with Apple back in “2002 or 2003”, where both companies worked together with Mercedes to hook up the first iPod in a car. He went on to say if Apple’s R&D was to concentrate on automobile tech, it may possibly lead to more partnerships.

In 2014, QNX technology shipped in 20 million automotive modules, explained Poliak, with numbers to rise for 2015, once finalized. He had this to say about working together with companies on car tech:

“We’ve continued to deploy technology with all the major device manufacturers, whether it be Google or Apple or others that throughout the years, you will find us in a lot of cars enabling the technology,” he said. “We’re kind of the Switzerland of all the different devices that want to connect to a car.”

Could Apple be working together with QNX on their future automobile plans?