Buzz about a future car from Silicon Valley giant Apple hasn't exactly died down.
Following fluke reports from earlier this month that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company had taken out a patent for an "Apple Electric Car," the Financial Times has provided substantive evidence that Apple may be genuinely dabbling in the automotive business.
Sources close to the company say that Apple has been gathering auto technology and car design experts for top-secret research at a design lab in an undisclosed Silicon Valley location, the Financial Times reported.
While the idea of an Apple car seems far-fetched, people familiar with the matter have said that Apple's hiring choices indicate that an electric vehicle may be in the works.
Apple is going beyond Car Play and smart watches to explore development of not only a full vehicle but also a self-driving one, a senior industry source told Reuters.
"Fully automated driving is an evolution. Carmakers will slowly build the market for autonomous cars by first releasing connected and partially automated cars," the source said. "Apple is interested in all the potential ways you can evolve the car; that includes autonomous driving."
Apple, which doesn't "appear to want a lot of help from carmakers," has been collecting input from experts who know vehicle components and production as well as auto-pilot, electric and connected car technology, the industry source told Reuters.
The vehicle project is code-named "Titan" and looks like a minivan, according to the Journal report, which says that "several hundred" Apple employees are involved.
While it's sheer conjecture at this point, a market showdown between Apple and Silicon Valley rival Google when it comes to self-driving cars would be something to see.
Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered Google has been famously hard at work developing a self-driving car but doesn't yet seem close to bringing the autonomous vehicle to market.