Daimler held "concrete talks" with Apple and Google

CEO said the companies" know more than we had previously assumed" about driverless cars

25/01/2016: Daimler, the German automaker, met with Apple and Google for "concrete talks" in California, it has been revealed.

Dieter Zetche, CEO of Daimler, confirmed that his company had talked to both tech firms, as well as a host of other companies and start-ups, on a recent visit.

"Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed," he said to German publication Welt Am Sonntag (reported in English by Reuters). "At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought."

Daimler, which also manufactures Mercedes-Benz vehicles, has previously made its position on autonomous vehicles clear.

At last year's Frankfurt International Motor Show, Zetche stated that "what is important for us is that the brain of the car, the operating system, is not iOS or Android or someone else but it's our brain".

However, during the recent trip, Zetche said, "there were concrete talks". According to the CEO, they were centred around "the innovative spirit in the valley".

"We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it," he told Welt am Sonntag.

13/01/2016: Apple Car an "open secret" says Elon Musk

Apple is developing an electric car to rival Tesla, according to Elon Musk.

Speaking to BBC News, Musk said it was an "open secret" in the Silicon Valley community that Apple is looking to make its own electric vehicle, saying: "It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over 1,000 engineers to do it."

The Tesla CEO said that Apple will make "a compelling electric car", but does not feel threatened by this prospect as "it will expand the industry".

"Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal, while at the same time helping other companies to make electric cars as well," added Musk.

Rumours that Apple is working on a car under the codename Project Titan have been swirling for years.

Documents were uncovered in August 2015 showing an Apple engineer had approached GoMentum Station, a secure test location in San Francisco, to "get an understanding of timing and availability for the space, and how [Apple] would need to coordinate around other parties who would be using [it]".

Apple also met with the Californial Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss state regulations for self-driving cars that same month.

Even before this evidence emerged, Reuters reported Apple was talking to "experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers" with a view to making an autonomous electric car, and in September the Wall Street Journal wrote that the "ship date" would happen in 2019.

Apple has always refused to comment on rumours about upcoming products, from the Apple Watch to the iPad Pro, and Project Titan is no exception so, for now, would-be Apple Car owners will have to continue to dream.

Image credit: lpy974 on Flickr

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