Apple started with team of about 200 employees working on the Apple Car, but was said to be aiming to have more than 1,000 employees. Since early 2015, Apple has been recruiting employees from the automotive industry and other car-related fields, such as researchers with specialties in battery technology and autonomous systems.

Apple has continued hiring for its car project even as some rumors have suggested that it has shifted focus to autonomous driving software rather than a full car, leaving its true plans unclear.

Some employees on Apple’s team have previously worked for major companies like Tesla, Ford, and GM, while others have been recruited from smaller companies like A123 Systems, MIT Motorsports, Ogin, Autoliv, Concept Systems, and General Dynamics.

High-profile Apple hires from Tesla include former mechanical engineering manager David Nelson, former senior powertrain test engineer John Ireland, former Tesla head recruiter Lauren Ciminera, who may be working to recruit additional employees for the car project, and former Tesla vice president Chris Porritt, who may have joined Apple to play a key role in the development of the Apple Car. Porritt has decades of experience in the European automotive industry, having worked for companies like Land Rover and Aston Martin prior to joining Tesla.

Former Tesla senior CNC programmer David Masiukiewicz joined Apple in April 2016 to work in the Product Realization Lab, perhaps creating prototypes of parts designed for the Apple Car. Kevin Harvey, who previously worked in the CNC machine shop at Andretti Autosport, is also working in the lab.

Other notable hires include five employees from A123 Systems, a company that specializes in producing batteries for electric vehicles. Apple faced a lawsuit (now-settled) from A123 Systems over the poached employees, several of whom had expertise in lithium ion batteries designed for electric vehicles. The company’s former CTO, Mujeeb Ijaz, is one of Apple’s highest profile hires. Ijaz led a team responsible for research and development at A123 Systems, and prior to that, he worked at Ford as an electric and fuel cell vehicle engineering manager.

Apple has also recruited two former Ford engineers and an engineer that came from General Motors, and it has been poaching battery experts from Samsung. Other former Ford employees, with expertise in body work, include Todd Gray and Aindrea Campbell.

In mid-2015, Apple hired Doug Betts, who previously served as the Senior Vice President of the Chrysler Group, where he was the global head of operations leading product service and quality. Betts may be part of the operations team working on Apple’s car project.

Apple hired several employees from electric motorcycle startup Mission Motors, reportedly leading to the company’s shutdown. Apple recruited six engineers from the startup, whom are said to have electric drive expertise.

Apple has been hiring individuals with expertise in autonomous vehicles, such as Tesla Motors engineer Jamie Carlson, who worked on Tesla’s autonomous vehicle firmware project, Paul Furgale, a researcher with specialization in autonomous vehicles, Jonathan Cohen, NVIDIA’s former director of deep learning who worked on deep learning for NVIDIA’s Drive NX platform, and Jaime Waydo, who formerly served as Waymo’s head of systems engineering.

Apple has also hired Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen engineer, Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, Xianqiao Tong, who developed driver assistance systems for NVIDIA, Sanjai Massey, a Ford engineer who worked on connected and autonomous vehicles, Stefan Weber, a Bosch engineer who worked on driver assistance systems, and Lech Szumilas, a Delphi research scientist with former expertise in autonomous vehicles.

Other 2015 hires include Tesla Motors engineering manager Hal Ockerse, who worked on driver assistance system components; Subhagato Dutta, who worked on an automotive algorithm team at Texas Instruments; and Yakshu Madaan, who previously worked at Tata Motors, the largest Indian automotive manufacturer.

In the summer of 2016, Apple hired Dan Dodge, who formerly ran BlackBerry’s automotive software division and developed QNX, the software platform found in a wide range of in-car infotainment systems. Dodge’s automotive software expertise suggests he is working on the team developing Apple’s autonomous car system.

Apple has at least two dozen former BlackBerry QNX employees working on developing an in-car software platform at a facility in Kanata, Canada.

Popular YouTuber and engineer Mark Rober temporarily worked on Apple’s special projects team developing VR technology that’s designed to be used in self-driving cars both to mitigate motion sickness when doing activities like reading in the car, and for entertainment purposes.

Rober has been with Apple for a few years now and is listed on several related patents. The VR technology would specifically be used within autonomous vehicles that do not require a person to be driving.

Apple in August 2018 re-hired Doug Field, who spent five years working at Tesla where he oversaw production of the Model 3. Field served as Apple’s VP of Mac Hardware Engineering until he left Apple for Tesla in 2013.

Field is said to be working under Bob Mansfield on Apple’s self-driving car program, suggesting Apple could still be interested in building its own autonomous vehicle.

Apple in December 2018 hired former senior Tesla and Microsoft HoloLens designer Andrew Kim, and given his history, he could be working on Apple’s rumored AR glasses project or its upcoming Apple car that’s said to be in development.

Apple in July hired Steve MacManus, a former Tesla executive with expertise in car exteriors and interiors. MacManus now works as a “Senior Director” at Apple and could be working on Apple’s car project.