Tech giant Apple plans to start production of a self-driving car using its own battery technology in 2024, according to reports.

Apple has been developing its own electric car since 2014 under the codename Project Titan. It has remained tight-lipped about the venture but according to Reuters, the iPhone maker has made enough progress to target a launch for consumers in four years.

People familiar with Project Titan told Reuters that the Apple car would include its own “next level” battery technology”, adding that it’s “like the first time you saw the iPhone”.

This will reportedly reduce the cost of the electric battery and increase its range.

Apple has hired a number of ex-Tesla executives to work on Project Titan, including Doug Field who returned to Apple in 2018 as vice president of special projects.

Apple’s focus on consumers diverts from the plans of Google-owned Waymo and Uber’s recently sold self-driving subsidiary Aurora Technologies, which are making autonomous taxis.

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By GlobalData

Apple has been secretly testing prototype cars in California, according to Taiwan’s Economic Daily News.

It is unclear whether Apple will manufacture the car in-house or work with a partner during the assembly process.

Sources told Reuters that Apple could decide to offer self-driving technology that can be integrated into a car made by a traditional automaker.

In 2019 Apple acquired, a startup that makes technology to retrofit cars with autonomous driving capabilities.

Verdict has contacted Apple for comment. The tech company declined to comment on Project Titan to Reuters.

On Tuesday Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Apple chief Tim Cook turned down the chance to buy Tesla in 2017 when the company was going through the “darkest days of the Model 3 programme”.

It was valued then at $60bn but is today worth $614bn after the company swung into profit 17 years after Musk founded the company.

While Apple is firmly rooted in consumer technology, it has been diversifying its business into other areas including services, finance and healthcare.

The $2.2tn company also has the deep pockets that will be necessary to compete with traditional carmakers.

Read more: Connected Cars: Timeline