Bloomberg reports that Apple is pursuing level 5 autonomy for its Apple Car (electric vehicle). Level 5 autonomy offers full self-driving capability without any human intervention. In addition to delivering an ambitious fully-autonomous electric vehicle, Apple also wants to launch it by 2025.
Such technology has not been achieved by any other electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer like Tesla and Waymo. Current EVs offer limited self-driving capabilities that focus on steering and acceleration and require human intervention.
Apple’s custom made chip for Apple Car enabled its engineers to successfully develop its fully self-driving system
As per the report, the company has achieved a key milestone in developing the EV’s self-driving system which will be powered by a custom-built processor.
The Apple car chip is the most advanced component that Apple has developed internally and is made up primarily of neural processors that can handle the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous driving. The chip’s capabilities mean it will run hot and likely require the development of a sophisticated cooling system.
More interestingly, Apple Car will not come with a steering wheel and pedal for brake and acceleration. Instead, it will be designed like a van with seats against the walls and a control panel in the center Passengers will be able to face each other like Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo Inc. thus the focus of the Apple Car team is on safety. The report states:
Safety is a major piece of the puzzle. Apple is looking to build stronger safeguards than what’s available from Tesla and Waymo, engineers involved with the effort say. That includes creating plenty of redundancy — the ability for layers of backup systems to kick in to avoid safety and driving system failures.
Apple is actively looking to hire engineers to test and develop safety functions. “The Special Projects Group is seeking an accomplished mechanical engineer to lead the development of mechanical systems with safety critical functions,” one recent Apple job listing reads. “You will use your passion for figuring things out to help design safety systems and to lead the testing and countermeasure of those systems.”
Internally, the tech giant is targeting 2025 as EV’s launch time. However, that depends on the performance of the complete self-driving system and the resolution of safety concerns. Recently, Apple Car’s team was joined by former Tesla autopilot engineer CJ Moore.