Apple is bringing back one of its top senior executives to work on an automobile project still in infancy. According to sources cited in the Wall Street Journal, Bob Mansfield has been tapped to run Apple’s autonomous electric-vehicle initiative.
Mansfield, who stepped away from day-to-day work at Apple years ago, previously led the hardware engineering development of products, including the iPad, iMac, and MacBook Air. He has been involved with Apple since 1999.
The WSJ report suggests Apple’s car project is part of a long-term vision to generate future growth beyond the iPhone, which drives a lot of the company’s revenue but is seeing slowing growth. Apple has never admitted the project exists, but rumors have circulated for years and sources suggest hundreds of employees are now involved.