Apple is hiring dozens of automotive experts to work on automotive technologies in a lab located somewhere off-site from its Cupertino headquarters, according to unnamed sources speaking to the Financial Times. News of the lab, established late last year after the unveiling of Apple's iPhone 6, is renewing speculation that Apple may be building its own car, the so-called iCar.
The company’s involvement with vehicles so far has been limited to its CarPlay product, which lets users control their iPhone from a touch screen located on a car dashboard. But before Tim Cook became CEO, former CEO (and Apple founder) Steve Jobs, who died in 2012, was said to be eyeing vehicles.
“Look at the car industry; it's a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?” Apple board member and J. Crew CEO Millard Drexler said in 2012, according to Cnet. "Steve's dream before he died was to design an iCar."
Apple has in recent years looked to recruit employees from electric car firm Tesla Motors, but it has also looked to automotive companies such as Mercedes-Benz to fill its research and development ranks.
While the project could simply be a project to expand CarPlay, sources speaking to the Financial Times believe there could be a car in the works.
More recently Apple has been rumored to be looking into self-driving car technologies. It also has a number of patent applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, including one that would allow an iPhone to remotely control some car functions based on a user’s proximity to the vehicle.
Apple’s mobile OS rival Google has also been working on a self-driving car, which it hopes to begin testing on public roads this year.