A meeting with government regulators – along with some peculiar hiring decisions – has fueled rumors that Apple might be in the process of building a driverless car, but the company isn’t commenting.
The company is reportedly in the process of building a so-called iCar, following in the experimental footsteps of fellow tech and auto giants Google, Tesla and Uber, according to analysts.
“There’s a lot of speculation that has come from the comments that have been made and the people Apple has hired,” said Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “It suggests that Apple is doing something with the automobile.”
The company recently hired renowned mechanics, including former Volkswagen AG engineer Megan McClain, who is an expert in automated driving, and Jamie Carlson, who was previously employed at Tesla as a senior engineer.
That’s not all: Apple executives reportedly have met with officials from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss regulations on autonomous vehicles.
But, despite all the indications, Apple representatives refused to comment Friday on the possibility of an iCar during NBC Bay Area’s exclusive visit to the new Apple store on the campus of the company’s Cupertino headquarters.
The company’s continued silence has done nothing to dissipate the rumors. The prospect of an iCar – and the career opportunities that come with it – gets people talking.
"If a lot of people buy these things, we could have a lot of jobs,” said Santa Clara University professor Robert Eberhart. "It really depends on how much of a market it becomes.”