Apple looks likely to be working on automated cars too

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As if we didn’t have enough companies developing automated vehicles at the moment. From the likes of all the major auto-makers, Chinese search giant Baidu, Western search giant Google, a variety of British companies and universities and now Apple looks to be getting into the game too. While it hasn’t officially announced the news just yet, it’s currently hiring on new people to work on things like car interiors, transmissions and car safety. That sounds an awful lot like Apple is working on some form of car and considering current trends, I bet it’s automated.

9to5Mac made the discovery of Apple’s biggest hires relating to car development, but suggests that the fruity firm could have several hundred people currently working on designs and engineering related to automated car development. One of the biggest recent hires was Steve Zadesky, former president and CEO of Mercedes Johan Jungwirth. He joins already hired ex-Ford executive and current VP of product design at Apple, Steve Zadesky who is said to be heading a team developing a new type of Apple electric vehicle.

David Nelson was once an engineer at Tesla Motors, but now works for Apple under Zadesky’s supervision and is expected to be in charge of handling gearbox performance and efficiency, something he was responsible for at Tesla before hand. Peter Augenbergs also came from Tesla back in 2008 and was originally hired for something else entirely, but now works under Zadesky on the same electric car project.

Here's hoping the firm somehow ropes in its augmented/VR glasses.

Here’s hoping the firm somehow ropes in its augmented/VR glasses.

Ex-transmission and mechanical design engineer from EMCO gears, Hugh Jaw was one of the newest hires for Apple. His previous work includes development of bespoke transmissions and axle systems, as well as other products within the automotive industry. Under his belt is the creation and development of the “entire product lifecycle” of two seperate motorsports transmissions – suggesting Apple’s project could be taking performance very seriously – and over 27 different commercial gearbox products.

John Ireland was also recently taken on by Apple too. He was a senior power train test engineer at Tesla before which he was a research engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The list of hires goes on and on, including Rui Guan, who’s operating as a hardware engineer; Al Golko, who joined Apple back in 2009 and has been poached by Zadesky to work on the car project; Davir Perner, a former Ford engineer who has experience working on hybrid vehicle solutions; Jim Cuseo, who’s been at apple for just shy of five years and has experience as a product design lead, as well as working with MIT Motorsports as a chief powertrain engineer; Fernando Cunha; Lauren Ciminea, who was Tesla’s recruiter once upon a time; Sawyer Cohen; Phil Hobson; Brian Lynch Kurt Stiehl; Dillon Thomasson and Sebastien Marineau.

And that’s just the ones that were recently brought on to the electric car project. It’s rumoured that Apple could have given the go ahead for Zadesky to bring in as many as 1,000 people to work on this project.

Whether it’s an electric car or some type of automated shuttle like we’ve seen in some of the UK’s recent car trials remains to be seen, but whatever the project is, it’s big.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.