Apple has long been said to be working on the vehicle, even before the EVS hype. It was once thought that Apple was making cars, and later only the autonomous driving platform, and now the rumors appear to be back on track with the former. Make no mistake, at this point, the speculation points towards the Apple Car being an actual, physical car, complete with seats and a steering wheel, rather than an autonomous driving platform that would be licensed out to other automakers.
Recent rumors suggesting that Apples Car might be built around E-GMP appear to confirm Apples plans for an actual vehicle, not a sort of autonomous driving platform to be licensed to existing automakers. We definitely know Apple is very much exploring some sort of transition to the car industry, but it is not yet 100% clear if Apples plans will extend as far as to release a vehicle for consumers to purchase. After several years where this project has been put on hold, it looks like Apple might actually get involved in the auto sector after all.
With the resources in its car division being prioritized on software development, Apple has been shopping for companies to make actual cars. The company is also said to be looking for software engineers to design the experience of interacting with the autonomous tech with humans, and is focused on an inside-the-car experience. Apple has a small team of hardware engineers working on developing drive systems, car interiors, and exterior design for the vehicle, aiming at a final delivery vehicle.
Its autonomous vehicle project is now led by Kevin Lynch, and engineers and developers are coming in from an assortment of automakers such as Tesla, Rivian, Waymo, Volvo, Mercedes, Porsche, McLaren, and Aston Martin. Apple redirected its Titan Project last year from being an all-cars project into a platform designed to power autonomous vehicles, whether eventually made by Apple or partner manufacturers, or self-driving services. Keeping the Project Titan name because of how closely it is aligned with its initial vehicle-design concepts, Apples work designing systems for self-driving vehicles has been the most visible element of Project Titan overall.
Initially, it was said that the Project Titan would include an Apple-designed electric car called the Apple Car, which would have been delivered in 2019 or 2020. Initial reports stated that Apple had an internal target delivery date for an electric car in 2021, however, some of the rumors stated that the first-generation model would not be an autonomous vehicle. The company has reportedly ramped up development on its design after a few delays, and a 2025 release date would align with some earlier reports about when an Apple Car could come. Apple has adjusted the project to focus more on underlying technology for autonomous vehicles, instead of actually building the vehicle, and although early rumors suggested that Apple was still developing a vehicle and continuing to seek partnerships, more recent information indicates that actual car work has stopped for now.
According to reports from October 2016, it appears that Apple-design is scaling back Project Titan overall in order to focus on the autonomous driving technology — in particular, giving it a chance to either partner with an existing carmaker or to come back and develop the car at a later date. There is still the possibility Apple decides to reduce the scope of the Apple efforts to a self-driving system that will be integrated into a vehicle made by a mainstream automaker, instead of an iPhone manufacturer selling an Apple-branded vehicle, one person added.
As far as real-world manufacturing goes, there are rumors Apple is talking with Magna, which already has its own EV platform that it could use to make EVs for other companies. The report said that Apple believes that without help from other manufacturers, it cannot execute on its electric car plan. The new report by Reuters does not say whether Apple would make Apples own vehicle, or seek partners for actual production of an electric car, but it does state, citingtwo sources familiar with the effort, that it would be a personal, mass-market car, rather than a robotaxi or commercial vehicle.
The purchases, as well as hiring a number of executives and engineers from competing carmakers, back up speculation Apple has plans for a commercial electric car. Apple executives had tossed the idea of an electric vehicle around, but decided to focus all resources on developing a new type of smart cell phone called iPhone. Steve Jobs considered developing an Apple vehicle, even meeting with manufacturers of the light-weight, low-cost V-Vehicle in 2010, but is said to have finally decided against working on the vehicle in 2008, choosing to instead focus development on the original iPhone.
By February 2015, there were rumors of substantial numbers of employees at Apple Inc. working on the electric vehicle project, with Apple also hiring new employees to work on the project. After a period without more reports, news about the car project resurfaced in mid-April 2017, when it was reported that Apple had been allowed to test self-driving cars on California roads. In mid-August, various sources reported that the car project was focused on self-driving systems, and was now expected to be testing its tech in the real world using the companys intercampus shuttle service between its main Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino and its various offices throughout Silicon Valley, including its new Apple Park. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple was working on the Apple Car, which would be launched sometime between 2023 and 2025, although there were some rumors suggesting Apple had stopped working on an autonomous car and was focusing instead on software.