It's been rumored for a long time that Apple is building an electric car with self-driving functionality, and there's been a steady flow of evidence surfacing to support this theory.
On the heels of news that Apple is developing a a factory in Cork, Ireland and listing jobs for automotive specialists, the company is reportedly getting close to settling a lawsuit filed by battery company A123 Systems that contends Apple poached staffers to help build a car battery.
SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why Apple is not building a car
According to The Wall Street Journal, A123 and Apple "have reached an agreement, signed a term sheet, and are in the process of drafting a final settlement agreement."
The lawsuit stems from the employees filed earlier this year — detail how employees with battery-related skills and knowledge were hired from A123 Systems, as well as from other companies such as Samsung and Panasonic.
The buzz generated from this case, coupled with other evidence findings in recent months, hints that Apple could potentially be getting serious about building a car. Although there's no smoking gun — confirmation that the poached employees would actually be working on a car battery — one of the documents focuses on an Apple-hired employee with two decades of experience working with electric car batteries.
"Upon information and belief, Apple is currently developing a large scale battery division to compete in the very same field as A123," the document states, according to Business Insider. "In connection with that development, beginning in or around June of 2014, defendant Apple embarked on an aggressive campaign to poach employees of A123 and to otherwise raid A123's business."
The employee, Mujeeb Ijaz, formerly worked for Ford in the automaker's electric and fuel-cell engineering division before joining A123 in 2008, according to his LinkedIn profile. The court document cites him as a defendant and former employee of A123, although his profile still lists him as working there.
Some argue Apple is more interested in developing car software than hardware, but there's no shortage of tidbits that support the Apple Car theory: An Apple development facility near its headquarters is labeled as an "auto work area"; hundreds of employees are reportedly working on something called Project Titan, which is rumored to be led by a former Ford executive; and mysterious vans with mounted cameras (registered to Apple) have been spotted across the U.S.
Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.
By Samantha Murphy Kelly / Mashable