Tesla CEO Elon Musk—never a shy one when it comes to speaking his mind—claimed in a recent interview that Apple is indeed entering the automobile business.
“It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it,” Musk told the BBC. Despite the prospect of Apple competing with his own automobile company, however, he didn’t seem too concerned—at least in public. “It will expand the industry,” he told the news network.
Although there’s been a lot of chatter about an Apple Car in the making, Apple itself remains characteristically tight-lipped about whether it intends to start manufacturing automobiles. Current scuttlebutt suggests the project has the internal codename “Titan.” In mid-September, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple was looking at 2019 as a target ship date for a first-generation vehicle.
By the time an Apple vehicle hits the market, vehicles on the road may have already incorporated some technologies currently under development, including self-driving software capable of dealing with inclement weather such as rain and snow. Ford (which is reportedly negotiating a relationship of some sort with Google, which has worked on autonomous-driving technology for years) is designing sensors that leverage local landmarks and high-resolution maps to guide cars through blizzards and other blinding conditions, all without a driver’s input.
Those advances also speak to the increasing sophistication of the automobile-tech field, particularly when it comes to self-driving vehicles. (Tesla is already doing its own work in the autonomous-driving realm.) But that doesn’t mean you need a PhD in machine learning, or extensive experience designing auto-manufacturing lines, to break into the industry (although those skills would certainly help).
Given the relative newness of the field, there are multiple opportunities for those tech pros with solid hardware and software skills but who have never worked in the automotive field before. Last October, for example, Dice interviewed a Ford research scientist who’d started out in the retail industry before transitioning to cars.
“It’s helpful to know C++ or to have experience with human-machine interaction,” that scientist, Jinesh Jain, said at the time. “But being adaptable and a quick learner is more important since companies that design and build robotic cars may be using a different mix of technologies or applying them in different ways.”
Ford hires tech pros with extensive experience in building gaming algorithms to help construct its software. Those with backgrounds in security, mathematics, and image processing could also find work at one of the companies working on the artificial brains that could power a high percentage of cars on the road within a few decades.