If a report is to believed, Apple has set a “ship date” of 2019 for its first ever car.
Anonymous sources have told The Wall Street Journal that the tech powerhouse is planning to have its first vehicle, an electric car of some description, ready by 2019.
Although the company’s top-secret automotive project, codenamed Project Titan, is staffed with experts in autonomous vehicle technology, the company’s first commercially available car won’t be fully autonomous, although it will have some self-driving features. Full autonomy remains a longer term goal for the project.
With a date now pencilled in, the company has given the leadership team of Project Titan the green light to triple its workforce from around 600 to nearer 1800.
In addition to pulling in people from the automotive, battery and machine vision fields, the Project Titan is also expanding by adding new faces from within Apple. These include, it’s said, DJ Novotney, an 16-year Apple veteran responsible for getting products out on time.
The American newspaper cautions that a “ship date” in Apple parlance doesn’t necessarily refer to a on-sale date, it can also be used to describe a target date for when engineers sign off on a product’s major features.
Some sources within Apple expressed doubt as to whether the project team can meet its 2019 deadline, as this is Apple’s first car and it’s not uncommon for complex projects to miss their ship dates.
Last month it was revealed that Apple was negotiating with GoMentum Station, a disused naval yard with an extensive system of roadways, which is selling itself as the perfect place to test autonomous vehicles away from prying eyes.
Just this week, The Guardian discovered evidence that Apple has had discussions with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles about the autonomous car regulations that it is formulating.