Apple reportedly designing “Titan” minivan-like electric vehicle, possibly self-driving

Will Apple make the automated family cruiser of the future? Conflicting reports say: maybe

Apple CarPlay

Last week, we heard that Apple has been snapping up automotive talent to push into creation of an electric car, or something around EV development. Many more details have since emerged, although the sources can’t agree on everything.

Late on Friday, the Wall Street Journal issued a report stating that Apple has several hundred people working on a project called “Titan,” which is an electric vehicle “that resembles a minivan,” says a source. While any release would be years out still, due to the complexity of the project and plenty of safety certifications and other red tape, it appears that Apple has a lot of money and expertise wrapped up in the initiative.

Apple vice president Steve Zadesky, formerly of Ford, is leading the charge, while industrial designer Marc Newson - an ally of Jony Ive who Apple hired last year - has experience creating a concept car for Ford. Other employees have reportedly been snatched up from Tesla Motors and Mercedes-Benz, and Apple has been consulting with experienced automotive companies like Magna Steyr.

However, the Journal report says that a self-driving car is not part of Apple’s plan. That conflicts with the Reuters report that followed yesterday, which says that Apple is strongly researching driverless vehicles with the intent to develop its own complete vehicle.

It’s entirely possible that Apple is simply building out an entire car for research purposes, and that we won’t actually be cruising around in minimal Jony Ive-mobiles in a couple decades’ time. Instead, Apple may simply be looking to design the software and intelligence to power other companies' self-driving vehicles, like an amped-up future version of CarPlay (pictured above).

Whatever the case, whether the company plans to make a drivable electric car or a self-driving vehicle, and whether it wants to sell cars or just the brains behind them, it sounds like Apple is putting a serious chunk of its cash pile into seeing how it can shake up the future of transportation.

[Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Reuters]