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Apple recruits engineers from Berlin-based automotive mapping firm Here

Apple has poached at least six engineers from Berlin-based mapping company Here —owned by German automotive firms Audi, BMW, and Daimler —and may have a Maps team based in the city, according to a report.




Recruits from Here include a director, two product managers, two senior software engineers, and regional map and content lead for eastern Europe, Business Insider said on Wednesday. While some of the defections date back to 2015, and in one case August 2014, one of the senior software engineers —Khang Tran —made the switch just this month.

The hires have refused to comment on what they're working on, and it's uncertain if a Maps team or office exists in Berlin. On their LinkedIn profiles, though, four of the people are listed as working with the Maps division.

Germany's capital would be a natural location for a Maps office, given the city's tech industry and labor pool. It might also be a good place to connect with German automakers, both for CarPlay and if Apple decides to partner with an existing company on a future electric car.

Though the Maps hires may not be connected, in April, a report claimed that Apple had a secret Berlin car lab with 15 to 20 people from the German automotive industry. The facility is allegedly an incubator for vehicle ideas, including manufacturing partnerships and regulatory issues.

Apple's electric car project, known by the codename Titan, is currently believed to be in limbo. The company is concentrating primarily on self-driving systems rather than a car design, and is only expected to settle on building its own car or partnering with an existing manufacturer in late 2017.