Apple’s 'Project Titan', so-called codename for its foray into self-driving autonomous vehicles, remains a mystery, though the tech giant has been reportedly poaching of Tesla employees for some time. Image Credit: Twitter

An Apple Inc self-driving car was involved in an accident last week, according to the state of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The DMV statement shows that Apple is testing at least one self-driving vehicle, a fact the company has never disclosed earlier.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

A Reuters report states that the collision involved an Apple test vehicle and a Nissan all-electric 2016 Leaf. It added that the incident took place on August 24, when the Apple test vehicle was rear-ended by the Leaf while preparing to merge onto an expressway.

Top-secret project

CNBC reported on Friday that Apple had been hiring scores of ex-Tesla employees this year to work not only going on Apple's secretive autonomous driving project, but on other products as well, the network reported, citing a "source".

Apple has attracted scores of employees away from Tesla since late 2017, including manufacturing, security and software engineers, and — more recently —  supply chain experts, according to several current and former Tesla employees and LinkedIn data.

'Star project'

In an August 14 note, TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo — who has a reputation for being right about what Apple Inc. has in its pipeline — predicted a car will be the company's "next star project."

Kuo reportedly claimed the Apple Car would debut between 2023 and 2025, with the potential to be as disruptive to the auto industry as the iPhone was to the mobile phone industry.

Rumours of an Apple car have been around since early 2015, when a van with obvious self-driving technology was traced to the Cupertino, California, tech giant.

Since then, analysts and pundits alike have struggled to figure out what "Project Titan" – Apple's internal code name for the endeavor – would ultimately produce.

Apple as a strict non-disclosure policy with employees. Clues have been sparse and sometimes contradictory.

 

It seemed clear the company had every intention of becoming an auto manufacturer when it was revealed in 2015 that Apple was hiring auto tech and design experts and had plans for recruiting up to 1,000 people to staff the autonomous vehicle drive.