A pile of evidence indicating Apple might be stepping from smartphones to smart cars seems to be growing every day.

Last year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook approved a mysterious project nicknamed "Titan." Current reports indicate that hundreds of Apple employees are working on this new venture in tech giant’s new automotive research lab, possibly with the ultimate goal of creating a fully-autonomous electric vehicle.

Apple recently hired former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Johann Jungwirth as Director of Mac Systems Engineering. Mercedes has expressed its intentions to create its own autonomous vehicles on numerous occasions in the past.

Additionally, a number of staff from Apple and Tesla have crisscrossed between the two companies.

Charging the rumor mills are sightings of Apple-leased minivans roaming the Bay Area, apparently equipped with complex roof-mounted equipment.

Apple is already involved with offering its CarPlay software services in currently available models, with direct support from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Volvo.

Whether or not Apple actually intends to build its own fully autonomous electric vehicle remains unclear. It’s also possible that the creator of the iPhone means to expand its vehicle software to include more than just infotainment.

Click past the jump to read more about Apple’s future electric car.

Why it matters

It’s more than likely that Apple is testing out a variety of approaches to several different vehicle-based products. What these could be is anyone’s guess at this point, so with that in mind, feel free to board the speculation train.

With infotainment already buttoned down by CarPlay, I suspect Apple is conducting extensive research into the viability of aftermarket autonomous driving kits. Installation would include roof-mounted sensors that would integrate with the vehicle’s ECU to allow for an AI chauffeur at the push of a button. Making this system viable would require extensive dismantling of the vehicle’s drive systems, but considering the huge variety of benefits it could offer, the accompanying premium price might be justified.

Bearing in mind the huge amount of initial investment required, I find it doubtful that Apple would make a foray into actual vehicle manufacturing. But who knows? The company isn’t exactly strapped for cash, and if Apple picks up some cheap rolling chassis from a partner manufacturer, maybe we’ll see the iCar before we know it.

Source: osxdaily

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