The company is referring to this as a “committed project” internally, the report says, and plans to triple the number of people working on it.
The initiative, which is being called Project Titan, currently consists of 600 people.
Although many reports have suggested that Apple is working on a self-driving car, the company’s first vehicle likely won’t be fully autonomous, writes Wakabayashi, citing people familiar with the company’s plans.
While Apple is said to be targeting a 2019 launch, it’s possible we’ll have to wait a little longer. As the report notes, building a car from scratch is complex, and those familiar with Apple’s plans were skeptical that the company would be able to hit that deadline.
The report comes after Apple had met with officials from California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss the state’s autonomous vehicle regulations. The Guardian also reported in August that Apple had begun seeking out facilities for testing autonomous vehicles.
The Journal first reported that Apple had planned to develop its own electric car back in February. Since then, the company has made some high-profile hires including Fiat Chrysler’s Doug Betts and autonomous vehicle researcher Paul Furgale.
Back in February, an Apple employee also sent an email to Business Insider saying that Apple is working on a project that would “give Tesla a run for its money.”