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Rumors about Apple's work on an autonomous car have picked up in recent weeks, but the project is still in the early stages and it will be years before an Apple Car launches, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Apple-car-wheel-icon-feature-triad.jpg

Sources with knowledge of Apple's product plans told Bloomberg that it will take Apple "at least half a decade" to launch an autonomous electric vehicle.

Apple has a small team of hardware engineers that are working on drive systems, vehicle interiors, and external car designs with the goal of eventually shipping a vehicle to customers.

Apple's car plans have shifted multiple times over the years and just a couple of years ago, rumors indicated Apple had decided to forego development of a full car and was instead focusing on an autonomous driving system that could perhaps be provided to other car manufacturers.

As development has continued, Apple is once again focusing on the more ambitious goal of creating an entire vehicle. The car team is aiming to create a self-driving vehicle that would let a user input their destination and be driven there with "little or no other engagement."

The car is "nowhere near production stage" and it could be ready in five to seven years, though timelines could shift. Apple is also still pursuing a self-driving car system for a third-party partner, so the company could still opt to end development on its own car.

Apple Car employees are working from home at the current time or spending limited time at the office, which is apparently slowing work on the vehicle project. Apple has a wide range of car experts working on the project, as outlined by Bloomberg.

This includes former Tesla VP of interior design Steve MacManus, self-driving safety expert and former Waymo employee Jaime Waydo, and former Tesla VP Michael Schwekutsch, who worked on motors and transmissions. Apple recently picked up Jonathan Sive, a BMW vehicle engineer who also worked at Tesla and Waymo, and Stuart Bowers, another former Tesla vice president.

apple-car-team-exectives.jpg

Vehicle-related job listings suggest Apple's hiring is ramping up, with the Cupertino company seeking employees with expertise in wireless communication, LED lighting, high-voltage battery systems, and more.

A recent report from Reuters suggested Apple is aiming to launch a car in 2024, but that timeline sounds ambitious based on the new information from Bloomberg. Reuters said that Apple is developing a new battery design that will reduce cost and increase range, and has also been working with automotive supply companies.

Another report indicated Apple is designing a custom chip for the Apple Car that TSMC will manufacture, and Bloomberg confirms that Johny Srouji's team is developing a custom Arm-based chip with a focus on machine learning processing to run the self-driving car system.

Apple is likely to use a manufacturing partner to build the vehicles, but it continues to be unclear what company might secure a deal with Apple. 2016 rumors indicated Apple was in talks with Magna International, but the talks ended as Apple's plans at the time were unclear.

Article Link: Apple Car Won't Be Ready for At Least Half a Decade
 

Braderunner

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Oct 2, 2015
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Tralfamadore
Tesla is already ahead.

By that time, Tesla owns the market with full self driving software. Not even including the crazy new ideas Tesla is cooking up in the labs for the next 5 years.
I'm sure Apple is also cooking up crazy new ideas. On top of that, Apple won't have the cash problem that Tesla did when it first started. Just sayin'. :cool:
 

gaximus

macrumors 68000
Oct 11, 2011
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Do people think that Apple is actually going to release an actual car, or just a CarPlay like standard, that if a car manufacture gets certified or approved, it'll run Apple's self driving software? i.e. BMW's new 3-Series supports Apple Drive, and all you have to do is plug in your phone and it'll control the car.
 

Airforcekid

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Sep 29, 2008
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The only way its going to happen quickly is a partnership with an established manufacturer like Honda, Toyota etc. Honestly I think that's the best way to go most major companies outsource certain models to other manufactures anyway. BMW and Toyota work together as an example often sharing components even Chevy and Ford do occasionally.
 

SkyRom

macrumors regular
Dec 17, 2018
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My take on this has always been that Apple doesn't want to produce vehicles due to the massive infrastructure, insurance and regulatory costs associated with car warranties and government standards. Instead, I feel they want to be the Microsoft of cars, developing universal software ranging from autonomous driving to navigation, Apple Pay, Face/Touch ID, iCloud integration and various other connected services and putting it in every brand's cars they can, starting with Toyota/Lexus. Plus, this keeps them carbon neutral as a company.
 

farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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I'm sure Apple is also cooking up crazy new ideas. On top of that, Apple won't have the cash problem that Tesla did when it first started. Just sayin'. :cool:

Their team is focused on figuring out how to build a car for at least the next few years it seems. Tesla already knows how to build a car and so their engineering team is already looking at the next thing.

It's not like Apple can throw unlimited cash at the project. They have shareholders to answer to so they still do have to be mindful of the budget.
 

Airforcekid

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2008
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Do people think that Apple is actually going to release an actual car, or just a CarPlay like standard, that if a car manufacture gets certified or approved, it'll run Apple's self driving software? i.e. BMW's new 3-Series supports Apple Drive, and all you have to do is plug in your phone and it'll control the car.
I have my doubts it will be a car from the ground up more like a special edition of another branded car.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
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they already have CarPlay...

CarPlay isn't really an OS, though. It's not running in the car - it's just using the car's screen as an I/O device for the iPhone.

Android Auto is actually an OS that is used on Polestar's vehicles. There's no need to bring/connect an Android phone and no way to exit Android Auto to anything else.
 

farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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I kinda doubt that full self driving will be ready in the next five years... based on my observations in the advancements in CV and AI.

Tesla can already drive from LA to Silicon Valley with fairly minimal human intervention. I believe the driver only took over to charge the car during the entire trip in this video.

Tesla says they'll have FSD up to their target safety numbers this year. I don't believe that, but I can definitely see that within the next 5 years.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,338
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WOW. give up already.

The Ford electric mustang has caught up to Tesla in range and SPEED.
What are you talking about? Tesla already has vehicles with 400+ miles of range and quicker than the Mach-E, and the next generation Plaid vehicles should put a massive gap between it and the Mach-E. Ford doesn't even try to compare the Mach-E against Tesla's vehicles because they'd lose that comparison so soundly.
 
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