Apple's latest Project Titan hires include staff from diverse automotive backgrounds

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2015
In recent weeks Apple has continued to hire more people likely working on Project Titan, its secretive automotive effort, profiles discovered on LinkedIn suggest.




One recruit was Hal Ockerse, now with an unspecified software engineering team, MacRumors noted. Previously Ockerse was with Tesla, where he worked on hardware architecture and advanced driver assistance system components such as camera, LiDAR, and engine control units. He also worked on similar technology for 11 years at a company called Gentex.

Subhagato Dutta, a new "technologist" at Apple, formerly worked on an automotive algorithm and imaging algorithm development team at Texas Instruments.

A third person, Yakshu Madaan, has been hired as a technical program manager. His resume includes time as an operations manager at India's Tata Motors, and he also helped develop fuel injection concepts as a research assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology and UBC.

Apple has been hiring many people with automotive experience throughout 2015, with Tesla apparently being a major recruiting target. Last month Apple picked up one of Tesla's top engineers, Jamie Carlson.

In March AppleInsider discovered that at least part of Titan's development is underway at a secret facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., specially equipped for automotive work.

Apple is typically believed to be developing an electric car, but recent reports have introduced evidence that it might also be self-driving. In August, it was confirmed that Apple discussed using a third-party facility known for testing self-driving vehicles.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    "is typically believed"?
    by whom?

    And, no, there is no evidence for a full, self-driving car yet.
    There is evidence of Apple working on minimum car-systems, likely involving a high degree of automation.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,667member
    "typically believed" by the gullible. Which is exactly how Apple likes it.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member

    Good God, people, we've been through this before. You don't need hundreds of hardware and software vehicle engineers to work on CarPlay and car manufactures wouldn't give up control over their dashboard to anyone—especially Apple. I'd say Apple pitched this idea to some of them several years back and they said 'no chance'. And I'd bet the straw that broken the camel's back was a couple years back when Tesla told them they wouldn't put CarPlay near their cars.

     

    Apple are working on an electric car.

     

    It's really rather obvious. Open your eyes, ears and your minds. Apple sees the opportunity here, cars are making the transition to 'smart', electric is snowballing and plays to Apple's ideals, cars are all about design, and most cars even very good brands are badly designed. And Apple are dropping hints left, right and centre and denying nothing. Jeff Williams, Apple's head of operations even when as far as to call cars 'the ultimate mobile device'.

     

    HINT HINT!

     

    Every time Apple enters a new area there are naysayers.

     

    Music player = can't be true

    Phone = can't be true

    Tablet = can't be true

    Watch = can't be true

    Car = can't be true

     

    The stars are aligning and it should be very interesting. Apple likes to move fast. I'd say if the car projects picks up steam and importance within the company it will move faster. Wouldn't shock me at all to see an Apple car before 2020.

     

    The questions that remain or not whether or not Apple has ambitions in the area of in-house vehicle production, but who do they partner with to physically build the car, what range does the battery get, how long does it take to charge, what stuff comes with the car to install to efficiently charge the car at your home and who installs it, how do you charge on journeys (is that secret Tesla deal about Apple customers using Tesla's charging stations?) and how is the car sold?

     

    I'm thinking Apple marketing does something crazy like when the car is for sale they put one—just one—in the window or their flagship stores at a weird angle balancing magically on one wheel for all to see. And they initially offer the car for sale on their website only or offer $99 test-drives you book on Apple.com where a specialist from Apple comes to your home with an Apple car and takes you through the whole Apple car use and ownership experience and ends the day by letting you drive the car. People would pay $99 for that, and I'd say a number of them if the car was remotely affordable would buy one for the Apple name alone.

     

    Reviews would be most people's test drive.

     

    The car is not merely the ultimate mobile device, but the last piece of the puzzle for Apple after television where Apple would basically have complete control over a person's experience of technology. Gaming, Communication, entertainment, music, Movies, TV shows, computers and mobile devices, cell phones, home automation and personal transport. The whole banana. And it all works together.

     

    Try leave that ecosystem.

  • Reply 4 of 24
    What I see in the car market is resistance to letting Apple "take control" of the cockpit. They will never allow their car doors to be opened with a voice saying "I am Siri. Where would you like to go?" No doubt Apple senses this too, and for that reason has probably decided to make its own car. When that day comes, car companies will be begging Apple for "CarPlay Pro", and if Apple car is successful, they may not get it. So by refusing to become "suppliers" to an Apple-branded car, increasing sales by 3 times, or even giving Apple a fair shake in the cockpit, increasing sales by 2 times, they are going to keep their brand names but lose 50% of their sales if they are lucky. All this is fine. It's why Apple is now such a huge company.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    ireland wrote: »
    Good God, people, we've been through this before. You don't need hundreds of hardware and software vehicle engineers to work on CarPlay and car manufactures wouldn't give up control over their dashboard to anyone—especially Apple. I'd say Apple pitched this idea to some of them several years back and they said 'no chance'. And I'd bet the straw that broken the camel's back was a couple years back when Tesla told them they wouldn't put CarPlay near their cars.

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Apple are </span>
    working<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> on an electric car.</span>


    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">It's really rather obvious. Open </span>
    your<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> eyes, ears and your minds. Apple sees the </span>
    opportunity<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> here, cars are making the transition to 'smart', electric is snowballing and plays to Apple's ideals, cars are all </span>
    about<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> design, and most cars even very good brands are badly designed. And Apple are </span>
    dropping<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> hints left, right and </span>
    centre<span style="line-height:1.4em;"> and denying </span>
    nothing. Jeff Williams, Apple's head of operations even when as far as to call cars 'the ultimate mobile device'. HINT HINT!

    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Every time Apple enters a new area there are naysayers.</span>


    <span style="line-height:1.4em;">Music player = can't</span>
    be <span style="line-height:1.4em;">true</span>

    Phone = can't be true
    Tablet = can't be true
    Watch = can't be true
    Car = can't be true

    The stars are aligning and it should be very interesting. Apple likes to move fast. I'd say if the car projects picks up steam and importance within the company it will move faster. Wouldn't shock me at all to see an Apple car before 2020.

    Exactly. And one of Apple's recent hires updated her LinkedIn profile to this:

    5x945l.jpg

    I don't think Apple's industrial designers would be involved if this was just CarPlay on steroids. Plus when Jony Ive got promoted to Chief Design Officer Tim Cook told employees Ive would be involved in new ideas and initiatives. That tells me he gave up his day to day duties so he could focus more on Project Titan.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Exactly. And one of Apple's recent hires updated her LinkedIn profile to this:



    5x945l.jpg



    I don't think Apple's industrial designers would be involved if this was just CarPlay on steroids. Plus when Jony Ive got promoted to Chief Design Officer Tim Cook told employees Ive would be involved in new ideas and initiatives. That tells me he gave up his day to day duties so he could focus more on Project Titan.



    I'm a little surprised Apple hasn't cracked down on people divulging any and all details of their work at Apple until after they've actually left.

  • Reply 7 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by 22July2013 View Post



    What I see in the car market is resistance to letting Apple "take control" of the cockpit. They will never allow their car doors to be opened with a voice saying "I am Siri. Where would you like to go?" No doubt Apple senses this too, and for that reason has probably decided to make its own car. When that day comes, car companies will be begging Apple for "CarPlay Pro", and if Apple car is successful, they may not get it. So by refusing to become "suppliers" to an Apple-branded car, increasing sales by 3 times, or even giving Apple a fair shake in the cockpit, increasing sales by 2 times, they are going to keep their brand names but lose 50% of their sales if they are lucky. All this is fine. It's why Apple is now such a huge company.



    I don't know about that. I see companies such as BMW and Toyota and Audi copying Apple if Apple enters the electric car market in a big way. But they have lots of talented people working for them too. I just see the whole thing becoming far more competitive and the consumer winning as a result. This is one area where I'd love to see what Apple would do, but I'm glad too for ongoing competition, because as much as I love Apple it's always nice to know if you choose to you don't have to be completely wrapped in an Apple blanket from morning to night. Drive an Apple car and you've gone almost 100-percent-Apple when it comes to technology. While I'm sure the experience would be the best you'd get, it is kind of creepy giving one single company so much power and control over you. Yes, you could always leave the garden, but I'd imagine it wouldn't be a comfortable exit.

  • Reply 8 of 24
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    I'm a little surprised Apple hasn't cracked down on people divulging any and all details of their work at Apple until after they've actually left.
    Can companies control what you put on LinkedIn?
  • Reply 9 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     



    I don't know about that. I see companies such as BMW and Toyota and Audi copying Apple if Apple enters the electric car market in a big way. But they have lots of talented people working for them too. I just see the whole thing becoming far more competitive and the consumer winning as a result. This is one area where I'd love to see what Apple would do, but I'm glad too for ongoing competition, because as much as I love Apple it's always nice to know if you choose to you don't have to be completely wrapped in an Apple blanket from morning to night. Drive an Apple car and you've gone almost 100-percent-Apple when it comes to technology. While I'm sure the experience would be the best you'd get, it is kind of creepy giving one single company so much power and control over you. Yes, you could always leave the garden, but I'd imagine it wouldn't be a comfortable exit.


     

    Hey why leave when it's so nice :-).

  • Reply 10 of 24
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,694member
    Self-driving cars seem to be getting ahead of themselves. I know these guys are smart and the systems will perform as expected. I think the problem will be integrating them with the non-self driving masses amidst the chaos and insanity that prevails on our roads. I assume these companies will have to get laws passed indemnifying them to a certain extent in every state where they are sold. The cars will be ready before the approvals are.

    Apple is behind the curve on this one. It will be interesting to see if they can catch up. It will also be interesting to see if they even bother will self-driving at all. Ive and Newson are old school car guys - I doubt they think self-driving is desirable.

    Interestingly, Google just brought their goofy car to Austin for testing this week. Very silly looking.
  • Reply 11 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post



    Self-driving cars seem to be getting ahead of themselves. I know these guys are smart and the systems will perform as expected. I think the problem will be integrating them with the non-self driving masses amidst the chaos and insanity that prevails on our roads. I assume these companies will have to get laws passed indemnifying them to a certain extent in every state where they are sold. The cars will be ready before the approvals are.



    Apple is behind the curve on this one. It will be interesting to see if they can catch up. It will also be interesting to see if they even bother will self-driving at all. Ive and Newson are old school car guys - I doubt they think self-driving is desirable.



    Interestingly, Google just brought their goofy car to Austin for testing this week. Very silly looking.

     

    Not sure how much they're behind.... When there is really no automated on the road right now. By the time, authorisations are there, Apple could easily have a product. It's not like Google has had a huge amount of time to get where they are despite spending less than Apple (I'm sure) on their effort.

  • Reply 12 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post



    Apple is behind the curve on this one. It will be interesting to see if they can catch up. It will also be interesting to see if they even bother will self-driving at all. Ive and Newson are old school car guys - I doubt they think self-driving is desirable.

     

    Apple has been behind the curve on many of its most successful products, not all of course but many. iPod, iPhone, iPad and even Apple TV and Apple Watch.

     

    As far as being first, Apple really has only done that with the original Apple I/II, the original Macintosh and the Newton. I would also argue that they have always led in laptops, though once again, hardly the first.

  • Reply 13 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

     

    Music player = can't be true

    Phone = can't be true

    Tablet = can't be true

    Watch = can't be true

    Car = can't be true

     


     

    In fact the only one that turned out never to be true was an Apple branded television screen.

     

    Which leads me to consider that the Apple Car is even more valid than most whispered products - since Gene Munster has had no comment on it.

  • Reply 14 of 24
    Until someone figures out how to keep a battery from loosing power when the temperature is a -20F the vehicle will not sell well in the cold parts of flyover land.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post





    Can companies control what you put on LinkedIn?



    They could certainly make it part of their standard NDA.

  • Reply 16 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

     

     

    In fact the only one that turned out never to be true was an Apple branded television screen.

     

    Which leads me to consider that the Apple Car is even more valid than most whispered products - since Gene Munster has had no comment on it.




    Steve himself said that despite their desires to build a better TV from scratch they had no viable go-to-market strategy. The whole TV thing is predicated upon their TV show deal being compelling. If they can convince people to pay a monthly fee of $40 for certain about of channels (and the content owners to offer it) and offer that on Apple TV 3 and 4 then they can also offer a subscription contract at a higher value that includes a free TV over a 2-3 contract until it's yours. The whole deal hangs on whether they can convince the content owners to play ball or not.

     

    The danger of not having a HDTV strategy in place is smart TVs improve slowly over time until they reach good enough status and the Apple TV gets cut off at the source.

     

    My aunt moved into a new house and I offered to help her and her husband order an Apple TV and set it up for them to get them on Netflix because he likes it when it comes to our house and she informed me that there was no need because they bought a smart TV and have been using Netflix on it and have no need for Apple TV now. The were talking a few weeks ago about buying a TV, if Apple had one they now have it instead of what they have. Just one example of how the next 20 years play out if Apple has no TV in the game. It's not a question of if this happens, but when. Apple knows this too, but currently lacks the content deal to flick the switch.

  • Reply 17 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

     

    Apple has been behind the curve on many of its most successful products, not all of course but many. iPod, iPhone, iPad and even Apple TV and Apple Watch.


     

    Show us all the portable music player that preceded the iPod that had an easy interface for scrolling though 1,000 songs, with the management of it all being done on the desktop, through a superior application.

     

    Show us all a smartphone that preceded the iPhone that had a huge display, multitouch interface ad desktop class applications.

     

    Show us all, ah never mind. Not even bothering to check back if you respond or not, because you won't be able to give any sensible answer.

  • Reply 18 of 24
    philboogie wrote: »
    Show us all the portable music player that preceded the iPod that had an easy interface for scrolling though 1,000 songs, with the management of it all being done on the desktop, through a superior application.

    Show us all a smartphone that preceded the iPhone that had a huge display, multitouch interface ad desktop class applications.

    Show us all, ah never mind. Not even bothering to check back if you respond or not, because you won't be able to give any sensible answer.

    aggressive much?

    the post I was responding to simply pondered if Apple could come "from behind" in an already established market with an established set of technology leaders and present a compelling product that stole market share.

    I obviously replied that I felt they could, like they did with many product categories - including the music player, phone and tablet categories also arguably the laptop category.

    In fact it is fair to say in most cases that Apple is not the first into a market except in rare and debatable cases.. but when they deliver all the entrenched players get turned on their heads and play follow the leader to Apple's direction.
  • Reply 19 of 24

    When would a theoretical Apple Car be available? I'm heavily leaning towards the Tesla Model 3 when it is released in 2017, but if the Apple Car is right around the corner, I may have to wait. 

  • Reply 20 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,669member
    tyler82 wrote: »
    When would a theoretical Apple Car be available? I'm heavily leaning towards the Tesla Model 3 when it is released in 2017, but if the Apple Car is right around the corner, I may have to wait. 

    If you're in the market for a model 3 in 2017, get it. Remains to be seen if Musk hits that deadline and price point though.
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