Apple’s electric car project, known as Titan, is a research and development initiative of Apple Inc. While Apple has not publicly discussed its research on autonomous driving, around 5,000 employees reportedly participated in the project over the years. as of 2018. In collaboration with Volkswagen, Apple was said to be working on an autonomous employee van based on the T6 Transporter platform. By August 2018, Apple had 66 registered self-driving cars on the road and 111 registered drivers. As of 2020, Apple is believed to be focusing on developing autonomous hardware, software, and services rather than making its own cars. While Reuters suggested a possible 2024 launch, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicated it might not happen until 2025 or later.
History of Apple Car :
From 2014 to 2021, Apple’s Project Titan, an electric car project, went through various phases and rumors. In late 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook approved the project and assigned Vice President Steve Zadesky to lead the project. Apple hired key automotive experts, including Johann Jungwirth and former Tesla employees, and there were rumors of a possible minivan-like design. Apple also met with autonomous vehicle experts and test fields, indicating its interest in self-driving technology.
In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk recognized Apple’s efforts in developing an electric car. Bob Mansfield, a retired Apple executive, took over the project and the focus shifted to autonomous systems. Apple registered autonomous vehicles in California and has reportedly partnered with Volkswagen to develop an autonomous transportation van for employees.
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Apple’s car project was kept under wraps, with occasional reports of hiring and partnerships. The company also obtained permits to test autonomous vehicles. In 2018, a former Apple employee was arrested for stealing trade secrets related to the project. Doug Field, formerly of Tesla, became the leader of the Titan team.
In 2019, Apple laid off a significant number of employees from the autonomous vehicle team, but later acquired self-driving vehicle startup Drive.ai. In 2020, reports suggested that Apple was targeting a possible 2024 car launch, and there were talks with Hyundai and Canoo regarding a partnership or acquisition.
In 2021, rumors about Apple’s car project continued. Talks with Hyundai and Kia fell through, but Apple reportedly hired experts from Porsche and was involved in talks with Toyota and Korean partners for production. Apple was also scouting suppliers for lidar sensors and building its supply chain in Korea.
Overall, Apple’s car project has gone through various stages of development, with a focus on electric and autonomous technologies, and partnerships with established automakers.
Apple Car Design :
However, there have been long-standing rumors and reports about Apple’s potential interest in developing an electric vehicle (often referred to as the “Apple Car”) since 2014.
Considering Apple’s design philosophy and aesthetics in its other products, it’s speculated that an Apple Car would likely have a sleek, minimalist design, focusing on clean lines and simplicity. Apple is known for its attention to detail and high-quality materials, so Apple Car may have a premium interior with advanced technology integration.
Apple has a history of putting user experience first, so the car’s interior could incorporate intuitive interfaces, a large touchscreen, and seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem, including Siri voice control and Apple CarPlay.
It’s important to note that any specific details about the design of an Apple Car at this point would be purely speculative, as Apple hasn’t officially confirmed its plans or provided any specific information about the design. It is always recommended to check Apple’s official announcements or news for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Apple Car Release Speculation :
Apple’s plans to launch an Apple Car have faced several delays and uncertainties. Initially intended for a 2020 rollout, issues and leadership changes caused a delay to 2021. The inclusion of self-driving capabilities was unclear at first, but subsequent reports indicated that Apple began testing the system on public roads. .
Noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that a shipping consumer product under Project Titan could launch in 2023, with a launch window extending to 2025. Kuo believed Apple could take advantage of market changes and potentially achieve a valuation of $2 billion.
Reports in late 2020 suggested Apple could be ahead of schedule, with a product possibly ready by 2024. This car could feature a new battery design to cut costs and extend driving range. However, Ming-Chi Kuo stated that a release before 2025 was unlikely and that a release between 2025 and 2027 seemed more realistic, depending on the successful progress of the project.
Apple approached Hyundai and other companies for production, potentially assigning subsidiary Kia to build the Apple Car. Talks with Hyundai ended, however, and Nissan showed interest in building the vehicle.
Apple aimed to create a beta version of the Apple Car by 2022 and order 100,000 units for production in 2024. Japan was rumored to be the initial manufacturing location. Apple suppliers such as Foxconn and Luxshare have also entered the EV business, increasing competition for manufacturing. Internal conflicts and executive turnover, along with Apple’s lack of interest in pushing the project forward, posed challenges.
Self-driving systems were being tested and demonstrated to executives, but problems like hitting sidewalks remained. The exact progress and readiness of the Apple Car project remains uncertain based on available information.
Apple Car Features and Testing :
Apple’s self-driving car project, known as “Project Titan,” has been actively developing and testing an autonomous driving system. Apple obtained a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 2017 to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. The initial permit covered three Lexus RX540h SUVs equipped with Apple’s artificial intelligence and sensing technology. Apple has been cautious when revealing the design of its vehicle to avoid giving away innovations to competitors.
The company provided training documents to the DMV to ensure safety drivers were prepared for the tests. Drivers had to pass various tests, including low and high speed driving, U-turns, sudden maneuvers, and handling conflicting signs. The vehicles were equipped with drive-by-wire technology, allowing drivers to take control if necessary.
Apple raised concerns about DMV reporting requirements for disconnections, where the security driver takes control of the vehicle. Apple believed that the reports should exclude certain details and avoid speculating on what-if scenarios. In 2019, Apple’s self-driving system had the most disconnections among the 28 companies testing self-driving vehicles in California, blamed on its conservative approach to prioritizing safety.
Apple gradually expanded its fleet of driverless cars in California. By November 2018, it had 72 vehicles and 144 drivers. The company explored the use of various sensors, including a 64-channel Velodyne LiDAR unit on the roof, radar arrays on the bumpers, and cameras that provide a 360-degree view of the surroundings. Apple also participated in discussions with LiDAR sensor vendors and worked on integrating sensors into vehicle design.
Apple reportedly partnered with Hertz for testing purposes, leasing a small fleet of cars, including the Lexus RX450h SUV. The company has also participated in transportation trials, working with an automaker to provide self-driving technology to transport Apple employees between offices. It was later rumored that Apple collaborated with Volkswagen on the project, using modified T6 Transporter vans.
In August 2018, Apple’s self-driving vehicle was involved in a low-speed accident when it was rear-ended by a Nissan Leaf. Both vehicles sustained moderate damage, but there were no serious injuries.