The project, code-named ‘Titan’, now employs nearly 2,000 workers, many of which are former Tesla, Ford, and Mercedes Benz employees. Another recent hire with previous ties to the automotive industry has joined the Apple team, and the rumor mill surrounding the Apple car is up and running again.
Rónán Ó Braonáin was hired by Apple four months ago. Before joining the Apple team, Ó Braonáin was the director of engineering at Reviver, a San Francisco startup that created digital license plates. Before his tenure at Reviver, Ó Braonáin spent five years as a software engineer at BMW, and then as a chief technology officer at Vision Fleet, a company that offered electric fleet management software and financing.
Ó Braonáin not only has a fair amount of experience in the auto industry, but he has also worked on some very forward-thinking and technologically advanced projects, making him a logical choice for Apple.
At the moment, it’s unclear what exactly Ó Braonáin will be working on at Apple. His LinkedIn page currently has him listed as a “Secret Agent @ Apple Special Projects”. Many are speculating, however, that his work will involve his previous experience with digital license plates. Digital license plates, a relatively new idea, may offer a variety of new features for drivers and government alike. Assuming an internet connection is available, the technology could cut down on administrative costs in relation to car registrations, and could “reduce the workload of the DMV”, according to Elektrec.
The technology could also handle payment for parking and toll fees, and could also aid in vehicle-sharing programs that are growing in popularity. Apple may be looking to implement this technology into project ‘Titan’, or they could possibly be using Ó Braonáin for some of his other experience in the automobile industry.
Rumors surrounding the Apple Car began circulating the internet since February. Many believe that the vehicle will be entirely electric, and may have autonomous driving capability. ‘Titan’ reportedly received a “committed project” label in September, with Apple dedicating several hundred new employees to advancing the project. Apple has yet to comment on the project, but the company is reportedly looking to begin shipments of the vehicle in 2019.