Apple’s long-rumored but unofficially revealed electric car has met a number of speed bumps and diversions along the way, but a recent source claims that the Apple Car’s roadmap has been finalized, with a fully autonomous self-driving electric vehicle expected by 2025.
According to Bloomberg, the Apple Car’s development team was previously stuck deciding between two development paths: a model with limited self-driving skills focused on steering and acceleration, comparable to many present cars, or a version with complete self-driving capability that doesn’t require human intervention.
After Bloomberg broke the story, Apple’s stock jumped 2.4 percent to $157.23. It’s just the latest move for the Special Projects Group, or “Project Titan,” which has gone through many strategic shifts and managerial churn since its inception in 2014. Doug Field, the team’s former leader, resigned for a job at Ford Motor Company in September after three years in command. Apple chose Lynch as his replacement over an internal executive who isn’t an automotive expert.
Engineers are now focusing on the second option under the direction of the project’s new head, Apple software executive Kevin Lynch. Lynch and Apple are aiming to build a completely autonomous car with no pedals or steering.
Of course, selecting to build a truly self-driving car is easier said than done, since no carmaker has yet to develop a Level 5 autonomous vehicle, which is described as a vehicle that can drive itself in all circumstances or driving situations without the need for human involvement.
According to previous reports, Apple’s EV ambitions included potentially contracting Hyundai to offer an EV platform on which Apple could develop its innovation, but negotiations of a deal broke through as Hyundai executives allegedly sought to avoid being reduced to the role of component seller.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is considering a future automobile design with more open-concept seating, akin to what EV startup Canoo has demonstrated in its cars, as well as enormous “iPad-like” displays for the car’s infotainment. Apple is reportedly considering not adding a steering wheel, as well as outfitting the automobile with some type of emergency takeover mode. Apple’s dream automobile would be devoid of a steering wheel and pedals, with an interior geared toward hands-free driving.
Apple is attempting to perfect self-driving vehicles, which is seen as a holy grail in the auto industry. Autonomous cars have been under development for years, but their capabilities have remained elusive.
Tesla Inc., the electric vehicle market leader, is still years away from launching completely driverless vehicles. Waymo, owned by Alphabet Inc., has lost a slew of employees in its quest to create the technology. Last year, Uber Technologies Inc. decided to sell its self-driving section.
Apple has also considered placing the car’s infotainment system — most likely a giant iPad-like touch screen — in the center of the vehicle, allowing passengers to interact with it during the journey. Apple’s existing services and gadgets would also be prominently integrated into the automobile.
According to those familiar with the matter, Apple recently hit a significant milestone in the development of the car’s core self-driving technology. Apple believes it has finished much of the essential work on the chip that will be used in the car’s initial iteration.
The chip was created by Apple’s silicon engineering team, which created the CPUs for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, rather than by the automobile team. The effort has involved fine-tuning the underlying software that powers the chip’s self-driving capabilities.
The innovations might soon be put to the test on the road. Apple intends to use the improved self-driving sensors and new CPU architecture in modified cars that it has been testing in California for years. According to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, the Apple is now testing its technology in a fleet of 69 Lexus SUVs.
The goal is to create a car that can prevent consumers from becoming fatigued when driving long distances. However, for an auto industry outsider like Apple, producing an actual automobile will necessitate collaborations. The business is in talks with a number of manufacturers and is considering producing the car in the United States.
Apple will still have to catch up to competitors like Tesla and Waymo, which have been testing different autonomous driving systems on public roads for years. Apple’s test fleet now consists of only 69 converted Lexus SUVs.
Even if Apple does overcome the obstacle of establishing its own self-driving technology, it will still need to rely on other partners to provide a foundation for its electric vehicle, since the firm apparently lacks the manufacturing capabilities for constructing a complete vehicle.
Apple’s rumored plan for a 2025 debut timeframe has been described as “extremely ambitious”. So don’t be shocked if the long-rumored Apple Car ends up being delayed, which Tesla has proven is par for the course when launching revolutionary automobile products.