The Apple Car might hit the road a lot sooner than some experts predicted, according to a new report that claims the iPhone-maker plans to rev up hiring on its secret electric car project in hopes of getting the vehicle finalized by 2019.
Leaders of the Project Titan have been given permission to triple the 600-person car team, claims the Wall Street Journal, citing ‘people familiar with the matter.’ The electric car project has been designated internally as a ‘committed project,’ which means Apple’s taking its entrance into the automobile industry very seriously, but it could still the pull the plug if the project doesn’t go as well as hoped.
While the ‘ship date’ for the Apple Car has been set for 2019, WSJ notes that in Apple-speak that doesn’t mean the date customers will actually receive a new product. It can also mean the date engineers sign off on the car’s main features. Previous reports from earlier this year claimed Apple wants to get its new vehicle on the road by 2020.
Although a number of self-driving car experts have been hired by Apple recently, the company doesn’t plan to make its first electric car fully autonomous, but does plan to add the capability in the long-term. Apple has tapped long-time employee DJ Novotney as VP of program management for project. Novotney has been with the company for over 15 years and recently served as the Sr. Director iOS Devices for the past five years.
Apple has already been looking for a place to test its car, and company representatives recently met with the California’s DMV to discuss public road tests. Despite Apple’s efforts to speed up the project, people familiar with the project told WSJ that there is skepticism within the team that the 2019 target is achievable.