Apple has reportedly shifted into high gear with the development of its first electric car dubbed as Project Titan.
According to latest reports, the Cupertino-based tech giant is already targeting a potential launch period for its upcoming creation.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources who claim to be familiar with Apple's operations, the company is preparing to ship Project Titan sometime in 2019. However, the site noted that this does not automatically mean that Apple's smart cars will be roaming the streets five years from now.
Instead, it could simply mean that this will be the period when project engineers will approve the autonomous vehicle's final features and specs. If so, then Apple could enter into full production by 2020.
Of course, before this happens, Apple will first need to have a dedicated workforce that will focus on the project. According to different sources, the team handling Project Titan is composed of between 600 to 1,000 members.
But, Apple is reportedly planning to increase this number by tripling the initiative's workforce. This includes pirating employees from other automakers. BGR reported that the company is even hiring employees from prominent electric carmaker Tesla Motors.
To sweeten the deal for those who will jump ship, Apple is reportedly offering a signing bonus of up to $250,000 to Tesla employees to work on Project Titan.
Aside from Tesla, the company is also sourcing talent from other firms such as Fiat Chrysler and battery maker A123 Systems, CNET has learned.
Another detail pointing to the progression of Project Titan is Apple's recent meeting with California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
According to The Guardian, Mike Maletic, the senior legal counsel of Apple had a meeting with DMV's deputy director Bernard Soriano and Stephanie Dougherty, the agency's chief of strategic planning. The site noted that the three met earlier in August of this year to discuss the details regarding DMV's regulations for autonomous and smart cars.
The meeting probably has something to do with the manufacturing and safety requirements that Apple needs to follow in order to conduct testing procedures on its vehicles.
Details about what Project Titan will actually be like are still unclear but rumors suggest that it might have something to do with equipping a smart car with a high-tech windshield or head-up display. If rumors are true, then this will allow drivers to view information through the car's windscreen without taking their eyes off the road.