A Bloomberg report has detailed Apple’s work on an autonomous electric vehicle and says it is still at least half a decade away from launch since the vehicle is still in the early stages of development.
Apple has a team of engineers working on the design of the car, its interiors, drive systems, and more so that the company could eventually ship a vehicle. This is a more ambitious goal than Apple’s previous effort in this department where it primarily focused on building a self-driving system. However, sources confirmed that the development work is still in the early stages and that Apple can only release a car in five to seven years from now provided it goes ahead with the plan. And since the development work is in initial phases, the timeline can always change due to delays and other unforeseen issues. The ongoing pandemic has already forced the team to work from home thereby slowing their pace of work.
One of Apple’s goals with its vehicle is to offer a self-driving system that would allow a user to sit in the car, input their destination, and be driven there with very little engagement.
Despite Apple engineers working on other aspects of a vehicle, the company could still change its plans and only offer its self-driving system to another company that it partners with. To bolster its car project, Apple has hired a number of employees from Tesla, BMW, and other major car companies in recent years. This includes hiring former Tesla VP Stuart Bowers in late 2020 who led the company’s self-driving team.
Apple is also using the prowess of its chip team led by Johny Srouji in the development of its vehicle. Srouji has been working on a custom Arm-based chip with a focus on machine learning to power the self-driving system of the vehicle since 2018.
There have been a lot of rumors surrounding the Apple Car in recent weeks. A Reuters report recently claimed that the Apple Car would feature next level battery technology and go into production in 2024. This was quickly refuted by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who said that the vehicle will launch by 2025-2027 at the earliest.
It seems clear that Apple is working on developing a vehicle and a self-driving system but it is still a few years away from release. And since the project is still in the early stages of development, there’s always a possibility of Apple’s plans changing a couple of years from now or a delay happening. To me, it does seem most likely that Apple will team up with another car maker and offer its self-driving technology to it instead of launching a vehicle itself.
What are your expectations from Apple Car? How do you think Apple could make its self-driving electric vehicle better than Tesla?[Via Bloomberg]