Apple Is Heavily Working On Its Fully Autonomous Car, Per New Report

The team has set an internal deadline of 2025.
Ameya Paleja
Vanarama's patent-based Apple car design.Vanarama

In a move that could peg it against electric vehicle market leader, Tesla, Apple has begun working aggressively on its fully autonomous electric car, Bloomberg reported. Developing a car has been on Apple's agenda since 2014 but recent moves within the company signal a push towards making an Apple car a reality.

Given Apple's history of taking regularly used products and transforming them into their must-have versions using excellent design, it is hardly a surprise. With Steve Jobs at the helm of affairs, Apple made the iPod even when music players were ubiquitous. Then the company revealed the iPhone when Nokia was still selling resistive touch screens as its premium product. And recently, the Apple Watch has become the "it" wearable even though there are other smartwatch options in the market. During a time where electric vehicles are in a surge, it only seems natural that the electric car is Apple's next target.

Last week, we covered a plausible first look at the Apple Car that was created by gleaning details from Apple's patents. The Cupertino-based company is sure to add its own design quotient and make the end result look unique. However, as with Apple products, it is what is on the inside that intrigues and excites people the most.

According to Bloomberg's report, Apple has put Kevin Lynch - the man who made Apple Watches what they are - in control of the project. Lynch has no experience in automotive manufacturing but Apple has roped in former executives at Tesla, BMW's electric division, Volvo, Daimler, and General Motors to provide the necessary technical expertise. Lynch still oversees the development of the Apple Watch but is currently more focused on the car, says the report. 

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It is likely that Apple is looking to deliver a completely autonomous car through this project. While the likes of Tesla are still working on perfecting full autonomy, the report said that Apple has recently reached a key milestone in achieving this in the Apple car. Given that the company is now designing the processors for its products by itself, the silicon engineering team can specifically design chips to suit the highly complex software that will power the autonomous mode rather than the other way around, the report said. 

Looking at Apple's recent job listings, Bloomberg also suggests that Apple has moved further ahead from the car's design and is working on the interface that the driver will engage with. Expected to look and work much like the iOS, the interface will be something all passengers in the car will engage with since there might be no need for a driver at the wheel. And considering Apple's minimalist tendencies, there might be no steering wheel at all.

The suspense surrounding the car's design might take longer to resolve but the autonomous driving mode might be revealed earlier when Apple takes it on the road for testing. Bloomberg reports that Apple currently has a fleet of 69 Lexus SUVs that could be carrying the fully autonomous driving software under their hood. We will bring you updates on that as soon as one is spotted.

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