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Employees working at a secret Apple location tasked with researching car products is sparking interest. The location is somewhere in the Silicon Valley and employees there are formerly with the iPhone group including experienced managers. Technology experts from within the automotive industry are being recruited to this mysterious lab. With all this focus on cars, Apple may be creating a car.
Google has made their attempt a creating a vehicle. Car manufacturers have been courting technical talent, so there are possibilities. Still, the idea that Apple may be creating a car seems unbelievable.
They could be working on advanced technology to enhance an established vehicle or at least for an established car manufacturer. However, those familiar with the company suggest that based on the people being hired, the seniority alone, leans more toward the idea that it is a car.
Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, feels that they can contribute to the automotive industry significantly. CarPlay was released last year, also released were HealthKit and HomeKit. Cook said these are “keys to our future,” using their iOS in creating a uniform platform.
CarPlay was built into a Ferrari in September and others who plan to build it into their dashboards are Daimler, Volkswagen, and Volvo. With this technology Siri, Maps, and iTunes music can be accessed using a dashboard touch screen. These iPhone services work with the car maker’s systems and enables Apple to be more integrated with vehicles.
They have been dabbling with integrating their technology into cars for a few years. Now they are hiring experts from the automotive industry. Experts include those with a background in vehicle design and automotive technology. It appears that Apple is moving beyond the dashboard, maybe they are creating a car.
One speculation suggested that they are planning to launch cars equipped with cameras to add a street view option to their Map application. Another idea is that they are developing another version of CarPlay. One report said that an Apple employee, while not divulging exactly what the project is, stated in an email that the project would “give Tesla a run for its money,” contributing to the theory they may be creating a car.
Google has been dabbling with a self-driving car, recently moving from a Lexus model to a small pod-shaped vehicle. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, there were 10 carmakers making a presence. Clearly the industries are integrating.
Recently, Ford opened a new facility not far from Apple in the Silicon Valley. Former Apple engineer who also worked at BMW’s R&D Lab located in the area, Dragos Maciuca, was hired to run the new place which plans to have 125 people working there by the end of the year. This new Ford lab will be revealing work with a focus on “what transportation looks like in the future,” according to CEO Mark Fields. Whatever the speculation on Apple’s plans, clearly they are part of that future.
Senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer, said that this industry is changing fast challenging the long time automakers and opening up possibilities for new players. He goes onto say that design and manufacturing in this industry is expensive and with the money available in technology, a new type of car could very well come from one of the big tech players.
Whatever emerges from the new, mysterious lab will be anxiously awaited. Apple may be creating a car, but they are not saying.
By Ailey Hines
Business Insider (1)
Business Times (2)
Photo by Mike Deerkoski – Flickr Lcense