Apple continues its work on a car designed by Apple and aims to create a fully autonomous vehicle, they report Bloomberg. Apple is “redirecting” the project around fully self-driving vehicles, a goal that other carmakers have failed to achieve.
Work on the Apple Car began back in 2014 and since then the project has undergone multiple transformations. At one point, rumors suggested that Apple had abandoned its plans for a full vehicle and would instead focus on software, but rumors began to spread again in 2020. It is now clear that Apple intends to launch its vehicle.
As Bloomberg explains, Apple has worked on two vehicle trajectories, one with limited self-driving capabilities and the other with a full self-driving feature that requires no human intervention, and the company will now follow this second route under Kevin Lynch, who joined the project earlier this year. Apple has reached a “milestone” in the development of self-driving car systems and has completed thorough work on the chip that will power the first car.
Apple’s automotive chip is the most advanced component that Apple has developed internally and consists primarily of neural processors that can control the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous driving. The capabilities of the chip mean that it will heat up and will probably require the development of a sophisticated cooling system.
The hope is to develop a vehicle that can save customers from driving fatigue when they are on long journeys. But building a real car – for an auto industry outsider like Apple – will require a partnership. The company discussed multi-manufacturer contracts and considered potential vehicle production in the United States
Apple wants to design a car that doesn’t have a steering wheel or pedals, and with an interior that’s geared towards driving without hands. Bloomberg said Apple has considered a design similar to the Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo, in which passengers sit next to the sides of the vehicle, facing each other.
Apple is still discussing turning on the steering wheel, which could be needed so people can take over in an emergency. An iPad-like tablet could be in the middle of the vehicle, with which passengers could communicate.
Apple wants its car to be safer than those produced by Waymo and Tesla, with redundancy and safety devices to avoid breakdowns. The vehicle will be electric, and Apple is discussing charging that is compatible with the combined charging system so that Apple vehicle owners can use the global charger network.
Using Lexus SUVs equipped with LiDAR scanners and other equipment, Apple is testing its self-driving system. Bloomberg says Apple will test the new processor it has developed in these cars, along with new self-driving sensors.
It is said that Apple intends to launch its self-driving car in four years, which would debut around 2025. Whether Apple will succeed in achieving that goal will depend on whether Apple can develop a complete self-driving system. If it fails to meet its goals, Apple could delay launch or sell a car that is less technologically advanced. The time frame is aggressive, and Apple is stepping up recruitment to meet deadlines.
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