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Sealed with Dogecoin Apple's autonomous 'Titan' cars start invading world roads in order to go head to head with Tesla's electric vehiclesAge: 53 months

Sealed in 25 October 2015 22:33:59 Opened at: 02 March 2020 00:00:00
Apple could have an electric car ready to go on sale by 2020, putting it in direct competition with rivals Tesla Motors and General Motors, according to an industry expert.

Evidence is mounting that the tech giant is gearing up to revolutionise the automobile market, just as it did with smartphones and tablets.

Images taken over the past few weeks have shown a prototype car that suggests Apple is testing the water - ahead of a release in as little as five years.

According to Tim Higgins from Bloomberg, automakers 'typically spend five to seven years developing a car'.

And a 2020 timeframe would underscore Apple's 'aggressive goals and could set the stage for a battle for customers with Tesla Motors Inc and General Motors Co.'

Both of those are planning to release a sub-£26,000 ($40,000) electric car in 2017 that can travel more than 200 miles (320km) on a single charge

Steve LeVine, author of 'The Powerhouse,' a book about the automotive battery industry, said on Bloomberg TV Thursday: 'Was GM really going to be able to match Tesla? Apple can.'

This latest speculation follows sightings of mysterious camera-mounted cars registered to Apple in the US last week.

At least two videos - one recorded in California, another filmed in Florida - suggest the top-secret project is more widespread than first thought.

And rumours range from a Street View-style mapping service to an electric car that will rival Tesla or a self-driving van to rival Google.

The Californian footage was sent to MacRumors and shows a silver people-carrier driving down a street in Palo Alto.

The Florida recording was filmed on a highway in Coral Springs and uploaded by Apple Insider.

This footage shows a white Dodge Caravan fitted with cameras on the roof. As the filmmaker pulls alongside the van, they wave at the two men inside.

The passenger is seen concealing an iPad from view, while the driver points to the camera and drives off.

Other reports have spotted the vans in Hawaii and Wisconsin.

The latest vans haven't officially been confirmed as belonging to Apple, but the similarities with previous confirmed sightings suggests they are.

The far-reaching nature of the project lends more weight to the claims Apple is developing a mapping service.

With 12 cameras on top of the car, however, some have said that is too many for it to be a mapping car like Google's Street View.

Plus, reports recently claimed Apple has several hundred employees developing an electric car at a secret lab. This project has been dubbed 'Titan'.

This Apple research lab was reportedly set up late last year - meaning any car could still be years away - and is being overseen by Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive.

Apple could, of course, be using the vans for both projects.

The Wall Street Journal added that hundreds of employees are working on the Titan project and boss Tim Cook approved the project close to a year ago.

These reports followed rumours that Apple was developing a vehicle as part of a project that 'will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.'

The claims were made in an email from an unnamed Apple employee.

In an interview last year, Apple board member Mickey Drexler said that before his death in 2011, Steve Jobs had considered building a car.

He told Paul Goldberger: 'Steve Jobs was gonna design an iCar. I think cars have an extraordinary opportunity for cool design.'

Alternatively, the Apple employee's email could be referring to an advanced iPhone in-car control system that would rival Tesla's software.

The original Dodge van with the equipment on the top was spotted by the blog Claycord in San Francisco.

The blog owners apparently asked the driver what he was doing, but he refused to give an answer.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) confirmed the vehicle was leased to Apple.

Last year, footage emerged of a self-driving Dodge Caravan that looked like the current Apple minivans.

When contacted by MailOnline, Apple declined to comment on the car in question or what its purpose was.

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