Apple is working on its self-driving electric car with a small team, with development still in early stages. The company intends to compete with the likes of Tesla, however, the launch is expected to be more than half a decade away at this point, and plans could still change by then.
Unlike other rumors and reports which have claimed that it will be unlike Apple to produce and ship its own car, the new Bloomberg report by Mark Gurman confirms that the company is working on doing exactly that. Instead of just focusing on the self-driving part of the car, the team at Apple is working on the interior and exterior body designs that could someday be part of its shipping car. However, the company is still researching its self-driving car system too which could potentially be used by partner automobile manufacturers, similar to how CarPlay works.
Apple Car in active development, Hyundai in talks to partner with Apple for electric car
To help aid its efforts, Apple has been on a hiring spree and has roped in a lot of high-profile ex-Tesla employees, including former Tesla engineering vice president Steve MacManus. The overall Apple car project is being headed by Doug Field, who is also a former senior Tesla vehicle engineer. The team currently consists of hundreds of engineers, with a majority working on its autonomous driving system. Another team is working on “vehicle dynamics, drive trains, safety mechanics, and battery technology”. Apple car’s battery technology had come into focus in a previous report.
Apple is hiring more people to its team to work on other parts of its self-driving system including LED lighting, speakers, microphones, wireless communication, antennas, battery systems, and more. Apple is also working on custom Silicon to power the machine learning and artificial intelligence that would power the self-driving system in a car. These chips are expected to be manufactured by TSMC.
As with all Apple products, the company will design the car but will get another company to handle the manufacturing part. Another report by Bloomberg states that Hyundai is in early talks with Apple to partner on developing self-driving electric vehicles, however, nothing has been confirmed yet. The news has boosted Hyundai’s shared by 24%.
In a statement just obtained by @CNBC's @cherykang, the auto giant Hyundai says:
“We understand that Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor.
As the discussion is at its early stage, nothing has been decided.”
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) January 8, 2021
As that launch date is still some time away, and the pandemic has moved most of the team at Apple to work from home, work has been slower on the car than expected. Plans could change further between now and the expected launch time-frame.
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