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According to a report published on Friday, Steve Zadesky — a 16-year Apple veteran thought to be heading the company’s automotive initiative, also known as ‘Project Titan,’ has informed several colleagues that he plans to leave the company.
The Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter, reported that Zadesky — who previously worked on the design team for Apple’s iPod and iPhone lines — indicated he is quitting at Apple for “personal reasons.” It’s unclear, however, if his work was in any way related to the company’s ongoing electric car project.
The report goes on to cite that Apple’s Project Titan team has encountered a whole mess of problems recently, from simply setting and meeting “clear and defined goals,” to meeting the company’s rather ambitious deadlines. Apple is hoping to finalize engineering by 2019, for instance, so it would more than likely be several years thereafter when an actual product hits the market.
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Additionally, according to information from a report to AppleInsider in September, 2015, a series of manufacturing roadblocks forced the Cupertino company to entertain the idea of partnering with a well-established carmaker to bolster it’s chances of realizing a near-term ship date. That report claimed that the project’s size is an issue, as well, which fueled speculation that Apple might be leasing a massive parcel of land in San Jose, California, to dedicate for a permanent Project Titan facility.
A former Ford Motor Company engineer, Zadesky was initially attached to Apple’s Project Titan last February, when reports first surfaced that he was leading a team of “hundreds” in the effort.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, apparently gave Zadesky the green light to start work on Project Titan years ago, granting him the power to make decisions relating to talent poaching from other departments at Apple, as well as other companies in the region.
While the Silicon Valley tech-giant has yet to formally claim that it’s working on a full-fledged electric car, a considerable number of recent hires from the likes of Tesla, for instance, in addition to a slew of recent reports and acquisitions suggest that the project is well underway at this point. A report in March of last year also uncovered evidence that Apple may have dedicated a specific facility to its ongoing automotive project.
Still unknown is exactly when Zadesky plans to leave Apple, however; and the company has yet to respond to repeated requests for comment.