The rumours first started back in 2014 that Apple was working on a self driving car and codenamed it ‘Project Titan’ but the rumours died down shortly after. In 2017 Apple got a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test self driving cars on public roads in the state. Tim Cook the Chief Executive Officer of Apple said: “The company was working on autonomous driving software around this time.” In 2018 an Apple test car was rear-ended by another vehicle offering further proof that Apple was still doing something in the car space.
Speculation regarding Apple’s first car was to be launched in 2024 but some experts have warned this timeline is unlikely. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo did previously say an Apple car could be available between 2023 and 2025 but has now revised this estimate. He said: “If development starts this year and everything goes well, it will be launched in 2025 and 2027 at the earliest.” Kuo now believes. Ming-Chi Kuo warned: “Due to changes in the EV/Self driving market and Apple’s high-quality standards, we would not be surprised if Apple’s cars launch schedule is postponed to 2028 or later.”
Project Titan is headed by Doug Field, a former Apple hardware engineer who was rehired from an engineering role at Tesla in 2018. The Apple vehicle will incorporate self-driving technology and use a unique ‘monocell’ battery which uses larger cells, allowing for denser battery packs that may deliver greater range than the traditional multi-cell designs used by current electric cars. Apple is also reportedly experimenting with lithium iron phosphate battery chemistry as an alternative to lithium-ion, as it is less likely to overheat. The new battery design could ‘radically’ reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicles range. Certain components, such as the LIDAR arrays used for self driving functionality, will reportedly be sourced from outside partners, despite Apple designing its own LIDAR sensors for the most recent iPhone and iPad Pro models.
CEO Tim Cook explained that the technology giant was now completely focused on developing an autonomous system something he said was: ” A core technology that we view as very important.”
The Tesla boss Elon Musk took to Twitter following the news about the Apple car calling it ‘strange’ and labelling a moncell battery as ‘electrochemically impossible’ due to its low voltage output. Elon Musk also said: “During the darkest days of the model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting.” It took Elon Musk’s Tesla 17 years before it finally turned a sustained profit making automobiles.
Apple has not confirmed the report, but investors took the news seriously enough to send Tesla’s already volatile stock into a dip.
The rumours about the Apple car refuse to die, the latest rumours suggest Apple is close to setting up a deal with Hyundai to get the Apple car in production. The Hyundai and Apple partnership could be completed by March. Korea It news initially reported that Hyundai and Apple intended to either build the new car at the Kia factory in Georgia or to create a new factory in the U.S with a capacity of 400,000 vehicles per year, with around 100,000 of them being from this joint adventure.
Apple has declined to comment on its plans or future products.