Apple is believed to be working on an electric vehicle project that it plans to launch in a few years. The top-secret project, code named “Project Titan” is said to be currently in the works and may one day yield an “Apple Car.”
It was earlier reported that the iPhone maker was initially aiming to release its own electric car by 2020, but a more recent report claims that the launch date has been pushed further. The date could potentially have been affected by the departure of Steve Zadesky who was leading the project.
According to Reuters, Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology to extend range and efficiency.
The project has been proceeding unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.
Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public.
Apple has been in talks with four suppliers of LiDAR sensors that are smaller, more affordable, and more easily mass produced than current LiDAR systems, which are too bulky and expensive for use in mass produced vehicles. Apple is aiming for a “revolutionary design” that could potentially be used in a future autonomous vehicle.
Several teams working on different aspects of the autonomous driving software that’s in the works. In Canada, a team made up of two dozen former BlackBerry QNX customers are helping to develop the base operating system, while another team works on developing the software that will run on it, such as a heads-up display and self-driving capabilities.
Apple is rumored to be operating another secret vehicle research and development lab in Berlin. The facility is said to employ between 15 and 20 men and women from the German automotive industry, all with backgrounds in engineering, software, hardware, and sales.
Apple’s self-driving car program focuses heavily on safety, with Apple’s vehicle protocols outlined in a white paper released by Apple. vehicle that’s deploye is put through “rigorous verification testing” using simulation and closed-course proving grounds, and the test drivers operating the vehicles must complete multiple training courses. Apple also has safety protocols in place that require the driver to take over whenever necessary, and for the car to give control to the driver when it encounters situations it’s unable to deal with.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes the car will be Apple’s “next star product” with Apple able to offer “better integration of hardware, software and services” than potential competitors in the automotive market, with Apple-designed chips manufactured by TSMC. Kuo believes an Apple car will be released by 2025.