Apple's Tim Cook, Jony Ive among most influential people in automotive tech

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Apple currently markets a single automotive product — CarPlay infotainment software — but rumors of a branded electric car put company executives Tim Cook and Jony Ive on a top 10 list ranking the most influential figures in automotive technology.

The nod comes courtesy Time's online automotive property The Drive, which on Monday published the first segment of "The Drive 50," a new franchise ranking the 50 most influential people in the motoring world. Cook and Ive were included in today's batch of influencers focusing on automotive technology, encompassing innovations in software, computer hardware and traditional mechanics.

Apple is the only company to be represented twice, with Ive taking the No. 6 slot and Cook placing all the way in third. The publication is hazy on its grading methodology (Ive's design language apparently jibes with the "best car interiors") but cites CarPlay and "Apple Watch-based apps" as grounds for inclusion. As can be expected, the veritable vortex of rumors surrounding Apple's "Project Titan" automotive initiative also played a role.

The duo is joined by other tech industry notables including CEO of Google Self-Driving Cars John Krafcik, who placed first on The Drive's list just ahead of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Uri Levine, founder of mapping app Waze also placed, as did video game designers Kazunori Yamauchi, best known for his work on "Gran Turismo" series, and Dan Greenawalt, creative director at "Forza" developer Turn 10 Studios.

Whispers hinting at work on an electric — potentially autonomous — "Apple Car" gathered steam last year on reports of poaching operations aimed at industry leader Tesla. Weeks later, AppleInsider uncovered a secret car lab dubbed "SG5" located in a nondescript Sunnyvale, Calif., facility, just minutes away from Apple's Cupertino headquarters.

Most recently, a report last week claimed Apple is on the hunt for prime Silicon Valley real estate to build out its automotive initiative, suggesting Project Titan is motoring along.


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