Update on Apple Car: Apple Raids Tesla and Other Automakers for Talent

Rumor has it that hundreds of Apple employees are working on a top secret project that many people have started calling “Apple Car.” Although not much is known about the project, it is believed that Apple is attempting to revolutionize cars. The Apple Car will probably be electric, may or may not be self-driving and would probably not debut until 2020 at the absolute earliest.

Apple’s code name for its project is “Project Titan.” Sources have claimed early prototypes of the vehicle looks like a minivan. Hiring for Project Titan is believed to increase from 300 employees to 1,800 new employees in the next 18 months. As work on the project continues, Apple has been raiding major automakers for talent. Tesla, GM, Bosch, Ford and Volkswagen have all seen top employees leave for Apple. Many of the researchers leaving for Cupertino have expertise in the electric car and autonomous vehicle space.

Now Apple seems to be prototyping car parts as its research continues. Tesla employee David Masiukiewicz has now left the company to join Project Titan at Apple. Masiukiewicz was a Senior CNC programmer at Tesla who was responsible for hardware prototyping. At Apple, he’s listed as a “Senior Model Maker” in the “Product Realization Lab” which is the place where Apple prototypes new parts and designs for the Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Masiukiewicz’s job description gives some clues about what he did for Tesla:

Precision 5 axis CNC machining of powertrain, suspension and chasis components using CATIA v5 and Openmind hyperMILL software. Programming of Mill/Turn equipment using Esprit.
In response to a question about why he left Tesla for Apple on one of his social media sites, Masiukiewicz declined to give details but said “Apple provided me with many compelling reasons to come work for them.”

Porritt helped create the Model S, X and Model 3 and previously worked for Aston Martin. Porritt is the highest profile hire yet in what is quickly becoming a Tesla-to-Apple pipeline.

Kevin Harvey, who worked in the CNC machine shop for Andretti Autosport, also left for Apple last year. His job also involves the Product Realization Lab. Although Apple has not formally confirmed that Harvey and Masiukiewicz are working on Apple’s car project, there’s little else they could be working on but cars given their expertise.

There are also reports – also unconfirmed – that Tesla vice president Chris Porritt has left Tesla to work for Apple, perhaps as a key employee in developing the Apple Car. Elon Musk, the Tesla founder, is a little bit annoyed at Apple’s massive hiring spree. Musk called the project “an open secret” in the car world. He said Apple has hired hundreds of engineers to make an electric car.

Apple has already explored areas for testing in the Bay Area, and has reached out to government authorities about the testing process. It is s likely that Apple could partner with an established automaker for production. Although talks with Daimler Chrysler and BMW fell through, Magna Steyr is thought to be in the mix. The Canada-based auto parts supplier and vehicle manufacturer has the capacity to build hundreds of thousands of cars per year.

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