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Apple planning electric car?

Apple is moving into the automotive industry by designing an electric car, according to reports.

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A team of 1,000 has been assembled by the company to build the vehicle, which the Wall Street Journal says "resembles a minivan".

The newspaper reports it could take several years for "Project Titan" to reach the production stage.

Apple may not even end up producing a car at all, the paper writes.

Instead it could use any prototype to test other mobility technologies it is working on, such as CarPlay, which integrates your phone with the dashboard.

Apple executive Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, is apparently heading the project.

He previously led teams developing the iPod and iPhones.

The Wall Street Journal claims Apple staff have visited car builders such as Magna Steyr, which has produced vehicles for Mercedes and BMW.

There are reports that Apple is recruiting experts in automotive technology and vehicle design to work at a new top-secret research lab in Silicon Valley.

Apple has made no comment on its reported move into automotives.

However, chief executive Tim Cook admitted this week that he feels Apple can have an impact in the industry.

"We've taken iOS and extended it into your car, into your home, into your health," Cook said.

"All of these are really critical parts of your life and none of us want to have different platforms in different parts of our lives."

Google, one of Apple's leading rivals, has spent years developing an autonomous vehicle.

Last year, Apple launched CarPlay, a new system that lets users access iOS features in their car. CarPlay gives drivers access to mapping, music services and messages, via the use of words or touch controls.

Drivers can use the car's interface to have direct control over devices, through the touchscreen, or via Siri voice controls using a steering wheel-mounted button.

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