As new cars become increasingly more like computers on wheels, several high-tech companies are poised to upset the auto industry. While Google’s self-driving cars roam California streets and Tesla’s electric luxury vehicle breaks existing rating systems, Apple has also been working on a not-so-secret automotive project, nicknamed Titan. The Wallstreet Journal reports that insiders revealed that Apple is accelerating the car project after spending a year investigating the feasibility of an Apple car. Now it is internally considered a “committed project” and engineers are aiming for a 2019 ship date. According to the source, Apple plans to triple the project team’s size from 600 to 1,800 employees.
At first, it sounds a little far-fetched for Apple will jump from pocket-sized computers to cars. However, this is a company with a history of disruption (see: music, phone industries). More importantly, tomorrow’s cars require better batteries, sensors, and hardware-software integration—all areas of expertise that Apple honed while developing the iPhone.
The initial focus will be on an electric car integrated with Apple’s operating systems, but there is growing evidence that the end goal is an autonomous car. Earlier this year, Apple employees met with officials from a secure testing facility for autonomous vehicles. The company recently hired several experts in driverless cars, and Apple representatives also met with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss autonomous vehicle regulations. Just last week, CEO Tim Cook evaded Stephen Colbert’s question about autonomous vehicles, saying only, “We look at a number of things along the way, and we decide to really put our energies in a few of them.”