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Apple bolsters 'Project Titan' self-driving software team with former QNX CEO

To flesh out the advanced software needed for a self-driving automobile, Apple has reportedly hired talent away from former high-profile rival and now-beleaguered BlackBerry and its QNX division.

Dan Dodge, founder and former CEO of QNX, left BlackBerry for Apple earlier this year, according to Bloomberg. Sources indicated that Dodge works on Apple's "Project Titan" electric vehicle team, which is under the supervision of Bob Mansfield, a hardware engineer and former executive at the company.

Dodge stepped down as CEO of QNX last September. QNX specializes in embedded operating systems, particularly in vehicles, and was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010.

The QNX operating system was also modified to run on BlackBerry's ill-fated PlayBook tablet, and is also the basis for the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Sources indicated to Bloomberg that Dodge has joined Apple at a time that the company is focused on developing the brains behind "Project Titan," the code name for its self-driving car initiative.

Apple is said to be focused on flexibility — standalone autonomous driving software could allow the iPhone maker to partner with existing automakers, for example. The report noted, however, that Apple is "not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle."

Notably, Thursday's report said that a so-called "Apple Car" could hit the road "as soon as 2020." That stands in contrast to a report from just one week ago, claiming that Apple's own internal timeline had been delayed, pushing the project back to 2021.

Though Apple has remained mum on "Project Titan," AppleInsider has traced breadcrumbs to unearth details about the effort, including the discovery of a secretive facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., believed to be the home base for development. There, Apple is believed to have hidden behind a shell corporation named SixtyEight Research LLC.