Many of the engineers were hired in the last year and about two dozen came from BlackBerry's QNX division, say sources. They are working at an Apple office in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.
A key hire for Apple was QNX chief executive officer, Dan Dodge. Since joining Apple's team he has been tasked with overseeing the car operating system, splitting his time between Canada and California. Apple also hired Derrick Keefe, a senior engineer who had been with QNX for over a decade.
Sources say that the OS will be the software core of a future Apple car platform, similar to how iOS powers the iPhone. Apple apparently has other teams developing software for self driving cars that will run on the new OS.
The autonomous software was only one of many features once planned to run on the car operating system. For example, Apple engineers envisioned a heads-up display showing apps such as maps that could be manipulated by the company’s voice-based digital assistant Siri, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bob Mansfield, who has reportedly taken over Project Titan, is giving engineers until next fall to prove their self driving technology before deciding on the future of the Apple's car initiative. In order to test the technology, Apple has reportedly developed simulators that use virtual reality to test self driving software avoiding the need to take the system onto public roads.
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