Between the two most valuable companies in the world, it's been well known and well publicized that Google is working on a driverless car.

But how about Apple? Unlike Google and many of its moonshot projects, Apple's autonomous vehicle aspirations have been kept well under wraps. Apple just doesn't talk about it.

The name "Project Titan" of course has come out into the open to represent Apple's shrouded activities in the automotive space. Beyond that, whether it is indeed an autonomous Apple car or a just a Tesla-killing electric one or both, is anyone's knowledge outside of Apple's headquarters.

Reports, however, do point to a legitimate likelihood that Apple does have a few things in the works. One of the clearer signs pointing to such a future is that Apple has been known to have poached Tesla employees.

Rumors say that offers to Tesla employees to jump ship and hop aboard over to Apple include 60 percent pay increases and $250,000 signing bonuses. Of course, Elon Musk knows all of this already.

"I think companies like Apple will probably make an electric car. It seems like the obvious thing to do. It's pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it," Musk commented in a BBC interview, further saying that it was an "open secret" that Apple was indeed working on a car.

Whether the iCar or Apple Car or whatever it's going to be called will be going head to head against Google or Tesla or any of the other major car manufacturers is yet to be known. At best, the Cupertino company is working on something and Daimler knows it for sure.

Daimler, the company that produces the luxurious Mercedes-Benz, revealed that they've learned that both Apple and Google have actually come along much farther than they thought in their respective future car projects.

"Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed," Daimler's Chairman, Dieter Zetsche commented on about a business trip to Silicon Valley.

They're coming. Electric cars (more of them). Autonomous cars. Autonomous electric cars. And they'll be coming from both new and traditional automotive players from the likes of Google, Apple, Tesla, GM, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and many others. It's just a matter of when.

Steve Jurvetson | Flickr

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