Even though there have been a lot of rumors and speculations about Apple car, the Cupertino company has not even acknowledged its automobile plans. But Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, who recently visited the Silicon Valley, told German weekly Welt am Sonntag (via Reuters) that both Apple and Google had made more progress on their car projects than Zetsche anticipated.
Zetsche met with 70 Silicon Valley companies
Prototypes of Google’s self-driving car are already under testing, but Apple has been tight-lipped about its so-called Project Titan. “Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed,” Zetsche told the German weekly. Zetsche and some senior Daimler executives met with about 70 companies, including startups, in the Silicon Valley.
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Zetsche did not reveal whether his team had meetings with Apple and Google. Dieter Zetsche was surprised to see that the Silicon Valley companies had more respect for Daimler’s achievements than he had thought. Soon after Google tested its driverless car, Daimler’s luxury brand Mercedes-Benz came up with an S-class limousine that drove more than 100 kilometers without any human driver input.
Apple car head leaving the company?
“There were concrete talks” with the Silicon Valley companies. “We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it,” said Zetsche. Daimler might be exploring potential business deals in the face of rising competition from tradition automakers as well as technology heavyweights. The Daimler CEO expects Mercedes-Benz sales to grow significantly in the United States.
His remarks come at a time when the Wall Street Journal reported that the head of Apple car project Steve Zadesky was leaving the company for personal reasons. Zadesky has been at Apple for more than 15 years. He was part of the team that worked on the iPod and the iPhone. In 2014, he was given the responsibility to develop an autonomous electric car. Zadesky has more than tripled the size of the Apple car team from 600 to almost 2,000 engineers. His departure would be a setback for Apple.