It’s beginning to become clear that Apple’s ambitions in the automotive space go far beyond its in-dash infotainment platform CarPlay.
Apple’s design head Jony Ive and his team have been holding meetings with automotive engineers and executives, some of whom Apple is trying to recruit. This news comes from a report today from the Financial Times, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.
The sources said Apple has gathered dozens of engineers — some grabbed from the company’s iPhone group — at a secret location off the Cupertino campus to research various car technologies in which Apple might play.
Apple has already recruited Johann Jungwirth away from his position as head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit, according to 9to5Mac.
Apple’s recruiting push is likely to be in support of some automotive initiative that’s far bigger than CarPlay. Some have guessed that Apple may be working on its own autonomous car, similar to what Google is doing.
It could also be a wider-ranging software platform that would control more aspects of the operation of a car than just infotainment.
Apple is said to be in a recruiting battle with the Silicon Valley electric car maker Tesla Motors for engineering talent. Tesla wants Apple engineers and Apple wants Tesla engineers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said on a number of occasions that he thinks Apple could make a difference in the world of the car.