Apple is reportedly developing a car operating system in Canada with dozens of software engineers working on the project. Most of them were hired over the past year and at least two dozen were from BlackBerry's QNX, the automotive software provider acquired by the Canadian tech major back in 2010. QNX, a subsidiary of BlackBerry, provides the operating system used in more than 60 million cars.
The engineers are working at an office Apple has set up in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata, which is just a few minutes away from QNX. Employees of QNX were brought in to develop a car operating system as they are experienced in components of operating systems and power management, a former QNX official told Bloomberg.
One of the most significant hirings from QNX was Dan Dodge. The founder and former chief executive officer of QNX joined Apple last year. He is working in a team headed by Bob Mansfield, who is leading Apple's car development project dubbed Project Titan. Dodge is currently overseeing the car operating system.
Derrick Keefe is another notable addition in the project. After working for more than a decade as a senior engineer, he left QNX last year.
The car operating system is the core feature of Apple's car. The team developing the software would guide future self-driving cars, sources told Bloomberg. The autonomous software is one of the features of the car operating system Apple is working on that gives the company the flexibility to either partner with an existing carmaker or return to design its own car.
Mansfield has given the engineers a deadline of next fall to prove the feasibility of the self-driving car technology, before deciding on a final direction.
Other teams that are a part of Project Titan include a simulation group, the report suggests. Apple has developed simulators that take advantage of virtual reality to test the self-driving software. VR expert Doug Bowman, who joined Apple in January, is a part of the simulation group.