Doug Field — who left Tesla in May after overseeing Model 3 production — has returned to Apple, working in Bob Mansfield’s project “Titan” group, reports Daring Fireball.
Tesla hired Field, who was serving as Apple’s vice president of Mac Hardware Engineering at the time, in 2013. He was hired to head the company's vehicle development programs. Before joining Apple, Field was Segway's CTO.
“Titan” is the name given to the “Apple Car” project. It was reorganized under a new leader, Bob Mansfield (who came back to Apple after retiring to take the job), in July 2016. Layoffs followed and Apple moved away from plans of of building its own car. The unit is now focused on developing "autonomous systems" CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg.
Business Insider says Apple had originally planned to build its own automobile by rethinking every detail of today's car, such as replacing traditional car wheels with spherical wheels, ditching the gas pedal, and adding virtual reality into internal displays, reports the New York Times Daisuke Wakabayashi.
However, as the Sellers Research Group (that’s me) has said before, I don't think that Apple will actually build its own automobiles, but will work with other manufactures to implement technologies such as enhanced CarPlay into their vehicles. Of course, Apple could start making its own vehicles.
However, that’s an awfully big and expensive undertaking, even for the world's most influential, successful company. It could easily consume the company’s resources. What if, instead, Apple stung off a design business to help auto companies? And worked to build autonomous software rather than an entire vehicle?