Apple Poaches Telsa’s Engineering VP

Apple, hard at work developing its own electric car – codenamed Project Titan, and rumoured to be undergoing R&D at a secret facility in Berlin, Germany – has poached Telsa Motors’ Vice President of Engineering Chris Porritt to work on a “special project”, according to Electrek. I wonder what that could be..?

The move follows reports that former Project Titan lead Steve Zadesky has left Apple, with Porritt appearing to be his natural replacement. Porritt’s CV includes a stint as Aston Martin’s Chief Engineer, a period during which he helped develop the One-77 supercar, V12 Zagato, and Aston Martin DB9 before leaving in 2013. Do you know who one of the biggest Aston Martin fanboys is? Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer, who famously owns both a DB9 and a Vanquish.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has previously joked about his company’s employees moving to Apple, calling the company the “Tesla graveyard”.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

While much of the design work for the Apple Car is said to be handled from its Cupertino headquarters, the Berlin lab is handling the development side, while the vehicle is due to be built in Austria by automotive engineering outfit Magna Steyr. The car is expected to hit the market in either 2019 or 2020.

Elon Musk Welcomes Apple’s “Open Secret” Electric Car

Elon Musk, founder and CEO of the Telsa Motors electric car company, has confirmed that, as far as he knows, Apple is developing its own electric vehicles, calling it an “open secret”, and a welcome one at that. Speaking to the BBC, Musk said that increased competition for electric cars means a healthier market and a big step towards his idealised world of electric cars, whether they are produced by Tesla or not.

“I think companies like Apple will probably make an electric car. It seems like the obvious thing to do. It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,” Musk told the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones. When pressed by Cellan-Jones as to whether that means he knows that Apple is definitely developing an electric car, Musk responded, “Yeah, I do. It’s an open secret.”

Musk is supportive of Apple’s endeavour, claiming that “It will expand the industry.”

“Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal, while at the same helping other companies to make electric cars as well,” he added, saying that, “In the long term, nobody will buy a car unless it is autonomous. You will only drive if you want to drive.”

Nvidia’s Deep Learning Director Joins Apple

Remember when we told you about Apple’s plans to build its own car? Well, recent reports suggest that the Cupertino-based tech giant is actually taking things seriously as far as its automotive projects are concerned, even though the car itself still hasn’t been announced officially. Jonathan Cohen, the former director of Nvidia’s Deep Learning division, has recently joined Apple, and according to one of its social media profiles, it looks like he’s currently working  on some sort of software suite. Looking back at his work with Nvidia, we know that Cohen was heavily invested in developing vehicle technologies such as Drive PX, which is a very advanced camera-based autopilot system that can detect and react to various types of vehicles and obstacles.

Drive PX is being referred to as a “self-driving car computer”, and it could represent a very important stepping stone on the path to creating a completely autonomous vehicle. Whether Cohen is helping Apple develop its self-driving car or not, it remains to be seen, but I’m confident that his work is of paramount importance. What do you think about Apple’s current ambitions in the automotive world? Would you drive one of their cars if you had the chance?

Elon Musk Calls Apple the “Tesla Graveyard” and Disses the Apple Watch

Elon Musk, billionaire, prospective supervillain, and CEO of both Tesla Motors and SpaceX, scoffs at Apple’s attempts to enter the automotive industry, mocking the company for sweeping up Tesla’s cast-offs, and he doesn’t think much of the Apple Watch, either. In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Musk took two hefty swings at the tech giant, making it as clear as possible that he neither considers the company to be competition nor rates its products.

“They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding.”

While Musk admits that the Apple Car is “the next logical thing” for the company, but questions whether it has the knowhow to pull it off. To illustrate his point, Musk points to Apple’s latest endeavour:  “Did you ever take a look at the Apple Watch?” he asked, laughing at his own question. “No, seriously: It’s good that Apple is moving and investing in this direction. But cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches.”

The Apple’s entry into the electric car market is predicted for 2019, but, as far as Musk is concerned, it won’t be much of a threat to Tesla.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Could the Apple Car Be Inspired by the BMW i3?

Rumors state that Apple wants to establish a presence on the driverless smart car market by 2020. Consequently, the company probably has a sizeable team working on its upcoming Apple Car, including Chrysler’s own Doug Betts, who was hired not too long ago. However, Apple was initially looking to partner up with BMW in order to manufacture the Apple Car following the design of the i3 electric car. Even though initial negotiations have failed, Apple’s Tim Cook visited the German automaker’s factory in Leipzig and was reportedly “impressed” with the carbon fiber electric-powered i3.

According to BMW’s chief production officer, Oliver Zipse, the company is keeping an open line of communication with the world’s most important tech companies, and it is still open to collaboration with Apple. Even if Apple’s experts eventually decide to give up on the i3 as a base for their own car, their initial interest still gives us a pretty good idea of the kind of concept that they are looking for. So judging by what we’ve seen so far, the Apple Car will probably be a compact, electric-powered vehicle that could include a specially designed Apple OS. Some of the most impressive features of the BMW i3 include rear suicide doors and the ability to slow down by using kinetic energy stored in the wheels.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information.