While Apple has, until today, never really acknowledged (it didn’t technically) that it’s indeed working on an “Apple Car,” Project Titan (as it’s called by the media) is the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley and Apple has hired hundreds to work on the project. Those hundreds of former Tesla engineers and engineers from other companies will now answer to executive Bob Mansfield.

Project Titan Apple Car Steve Jobs

Bob Mansfield back to day-to-day role with Apple Car

Mansfield joined Apple in 1999 and enjoy a meteoric rise quickly becoming one of Steve Jobs favorites. For years he lead hardware engineering development on products like the iMac, the MacBook line and the iPad. While he stepped away from a day-to-day role at Apple in 2012 when he reluctantly agreed to stay on at the company in a lesser role, it appears that he’s back and will lead Apple’s work to develop an all-electric, autonomous vehicle.

According to the Wall Street Journal, unnamed employees at Apple say that senior Project Titan engineers have been answering to Mansfield for a couple of months now. True to form, Apple had nothing to say when contacted by the WSJ and the publication’s email to Mansfield seeking confirmation also went unanswered

Apple’s R&D spending shows that something big is in the works and the company hopes to make a big move in the future of the automotive industry. While Cook has been coy about Apple’s work in the sector, CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged that “there will be a massive change in the industry [auto]” in the very near future as autonomous cars appear to be the future in spite of a few very public instances that are dogging Tesla’s work in that arena.

While many suggest that Mansfield’s new position is to save a project that is struggling, the possibility of something big being announced in the near future from Apple is also a possibility.

Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be heading Project Titan, left the company earlier this year suggesting that the former is the more likely of possibilities and reasons behind the appointment of Mansfield.

Speculation where Apple is concerned is always a chore so we’ll simply need to wait.