Speculation that Apple is planning to build a car without a driver

Apple seems to be moving forward with plans to build a car without a driver.

Apple seems to be moving forward with plans to build a car without a driver.

The Silicon Valley titan has hunted Elon Musk's former chief engineer to work on his top-secret automotive project. The appointment of Doug Field has reignited speculation about the iPhone manufacturer's car program after it was reported that it had been removed.

The 52-year-old man has worked at Musk & # 39; s Tesla for the past five years as vice president of engineering, and is credited with helping to make the vehicles easier to build.

Apple seems to be moving forward with plans to build a car without a driver.

Apple seems to be moving forward with plans to build a car without a driver.

The rumors he had left swirled in May because the problems to increase production of his Model 3 sedan reached a critical point. His departure was confirmed last month, although Tesla initially claimed that he was simply taking a break.

Field, previously vice president of hardware, will now join Bob Mansfield, a leading engineer who retired in 2016 to lead secret research and development programs.

According to reports, these include the automotive efforts of the Cupertino-based firm, Project Titan.

It was claimed last year that Apple had reduced the project to focus on driverless car software. But a recent court case revealed that his efforts were much greater than was recognized.

Up to 5,000 people are potentially involved, with court documents revealing that Apple was developing key components such as power and battery systems, as well as suspension supports.

Apple could still buy a stake in Tesla, the electric car company founded and directed by Elon Musk (pictured).

Apple could still buy a stake in Tesla, the electric car company founded and directed by Elon Musk (pictured).

Apple could still buy a stake in Tesla, the electric car company founded and directed by Elon Musk (pictured).

At Tesla, when Musk took over Field's production, he tweeted: "Doug, who I consider to be one of the most talented engineering executives in the world, is focused on vehicle engineering – it's better to divide and conquer."

Musk added: "He has not left Tesla."

But in July, however, it was announced that Field was gone.

John Gruber, an Apple expert who writes the Daring Fireball blog, said Field was "a seemingly perfect fit" for Apple. He said: "It's an interesting rental, mainly because it suggests that Apple still has an interest in making real vehicles."

He said rumors that the efforts were shrinking made no sense, adding: "Apple's modus operandi has always been to do the whole contraption, making products, not components." The return to the field suggests that under Mansfield's leadership, the Titan project has regained its balance. "

Recently, some analysts have suggested that Apple should buy a stake in Tesla using its huge stack of cash. Despite suggestions that the technology giant, which recently reached a $ 1 trillion valuation, could consider acquisitions, Chief Executive Tim Cook has invested money in a large share buyback.

But Ross Gerber, head of wealthy American administrator Gerber Kawasaki, said: "On the side of the car, how Apple has not taken a stake in Tesla will go down in history as one of the biggest mistakes in Tim Cook's career.

This is an opportunity for Apple to buy 10 percent or 20 percent of Tesla.

"We really believe that Apple has to start thinking about this." They are taking it out of the park completely with everything they are doing from the past, but it is the future we are focusing on. "

Tesla refused to comment.

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