Revealed: The experts Apple hired to build an electric car

“In the last few weeks we’ve heard about a poaching war between Apple and Tesla, a couple hires by Apple from the auto industry, and a whole lot of speculation followed by reports that Apple has a team of hundreds working on an electric vehicle,” Jordan Kahn reports for 9to5Mac. “But who exactly is working on the project at Apple?”

“We can learn a lot about the scope of the research Apple is doing from the talent on the team, so we’ve talked to our sources and compiled a list of some key employees Apple has hired and assigned to the project,” Kahn reports.

“A couple things we learn from the hires: Evident by this long list of automotive experts, it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system,” Kahn reports. “Well beyond software too, as many of the names below are hardware engineers coming from Tesla, Ford and other notable automotive related areas. In fact, the majority of employees on this list that are reporting to team leader Steve Zadesky come from an automotive hardware background and many only joined Apple recently or around the time Cook reportedly approved the electric car project.”

Read more in the full article here.

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Apple’s next big thing: The Apple Car? – February 13, 2015
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17 Comments

    1. But it is totally inconclusive in what field. As former CEO of GM guess, this could be automotive software. Besides iOS in the car, there are countless levels of software that could be designed by Apple. This required deep knowledge on how engine and transmission works.

      Most of those folks in the article are battery people, which could mean further expansion of Apple’s battery chemical engineers team, which develops batteries on their own since the middles of 2000s. And even if those people design bigger batteries, they could be used for Apple’s own ad hoc needs such as for its multiple giant solar power plants (Google also has all kinds of engineers working solely for internal purposes, without any outer project to sell).

      That said, of course, those hires might mean that Apple does develop electric car, it is possible. However, we will only see result of those efforts like in 2020 or so since even Apple Watch took nearly four years to complete.

      1. But if they’re working on an all-electric car (and I can’t imagine otherwise), then there won’t BE an engine or transmission…just an electric motor, so need for those additional experts.

        That’s why they haven’t hired those people. They don’t need them.

    2. Apple is a design company, others manufacture for them. If Apple were to design a car for BMW or Tesla, would they build it? They need not actually become a car manufacturer in order to disrupt the car industry. They need only come up with a killer design. Do they have a track record of doing that? Hmm, let’s see, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch…yep, and the wreckage of a host of companies that have underestimated their design oriented approach.

      1. Interesting analysis (dress/luxman) and good insights I think. If as Tesla has finally shown possible the future is electric (or at least hybrid) then electronic systems will be the fundamental part of the vehicle rather than predominantly supportive as they are now. That does mean great opportunities for Apple well beyond CarPlay. One example being the total health and fitness regime for your car that Apple Watch and iPhone is beginning to offer for the human body. To do that you would need intrinsic understanding of the fundaments of the vehicle and learn how to tie in with them as deeply as possible. Now this would make sense for Apple over and above actually building cars even if they have to know to all intents and purpose how to do that.

        Think about it, Apple would not be interested in trying to do this with internal combustion engines (which is limited yet pretty entrenched) for as with the PC it would be taking on the opposition head on rather than as they actually did just supplanting it with better alternatives and taking away its inherent inbuilt market/profitability. This would also make great sense of the talks they had with Tesla, not as a direct competitor but to assess the possibilities to benefit both parties to a lesser or greater degree. You can bet that as and when electric/hybrid comes into its own Apple will be at the core though I still think highly unlikely as a producer but as a deeply rooted platform. By doing this it can more than compete with the entrenched makers as they, like the pc crowd try to transform from traditions rooted in a previous century and on a level (as with CarPlay) that they are at a distinct disadvantage compared to computer companies.

  1. Sounds like a dream team.

    I was talking with a couple of my mates, last night. We have the technology from various manufactures, to build safety systems in to cars that prevent or avoid drunk driving, sleeping at the wheel, inabled drivers. If you were driving on the highway, at night, and you fell asleep at the wheel, the car could automatically pull off the road and park itself, until you come to your senses, or automatically call for help, if it appears you are in distress. This is the simplest form. More advanced systems would drive you to the ER or home. This isn’t Sci-Fi, it’s now here today. You just need the team to intetrate it all. Fire has parking assist. Mercedes has driver alertness notification, Audi has lane detection and drift notification. Multiple manufactures have laser object detection, traction control tied into ABS braking system to prevent sudden colition, without driver intervention, in timescales less than human abilities.

    We are in an era of automotive revolution. An exciting time in deed. I am not trying to second guess what Apple is going to do. But maybe this is the type of low hanging fruit they could aim for an put their touch at full systems integration where others are either unwilling or afraid to do, at a reasonable price point.

  2. This is the best article of the steaming pile so far.

    But does this all prove that Apple is going to build an electric car? NO. But it does point out that Apple is learning how they work. This could indicate, as I’ve been guesstimating this week, that Apple is designing something to be integrated into existing cars, and it has something to do with driving the car.

    It’s still extremely far-fetched to guess that Apple wants to design and sell cars. If they are, we’re going to have to wait a long while until we actually know.

    1. Maybe Apple sees a high end relatively higher end use in local delivery, which exists in every town in the US!

      You don’t have to change van bodywork every year to keep commercial buyers happy and in fact they would prefer stability so they have easier training and fixing.

    2. In one of my conversations, the Apple cars running around the country also have LiDAR, but more advanced. My friend was saying the tech is so precise, it doesn’t make sense for Apple Maps. Maybe it’s coalition detection. We are talking down to the millimeter, distances. (could this drive through a tollbooth at 75mph?)

      Shudder.

  3. Best article that leaves very little doubt about making cars.
    Go read the original article. A very impressive list of drivetrain engineers and other specialties that have nothing to do with CarPlay.

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