This is the first time we’ve seen rumours regarding Apple potentially still working on a self-driving car in quite some time.
According to Reuters, the tech giant is reportedly still working with the technology and is targeting 2024 as a release date for a vehicle that could include its own proprietary battery technology.
Rumours surrounding Apple’s automotive ambitions have circulated since 2014 when the project was known internally at the company as ‘Project Titan.’ The last leak we saw regarding Apple making its own car indicated that the company was in the process of evaluating its efforts to focus more on the software side of automotive.
Further, Doug Field, a long-time Apple employee that left the Cupertino tech giant to work at Tesla, returned to lead the project in 2018. Reports indicated that one of Field’s first moves was to lay off 190 people from the team back in 2019.
Reuters’ report comes from two “people familiar with the effort” that have been asked not to be named because Apple’s automotive plans aren’t yet public.
The report goes on to say that Apple’s new battery technology will “radically” reduce the cost of manufacturing batteries and increase the car’s range through a new “monocell” design that “bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials.”
The tech giant is also working with third-party companies for several components, including the vehicle’s rumoured multiple lidar sensors. This makes sense, given this is how the company manufacturers nearly all of its products.
While Apple certainly has an incredible amount of money at its disposal, manufacturing a vehicle is a far different world than building a smartphone, computer or a pair of headphones. It took Tesla more than a decade to finally start turning a profit from selling its vehicles. Though it’s still unclear, it’s likely that Apple will work with a legacy automaker when it comes to actually manufacturing the vehicle.
Finally, the report states that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could delay the vehicle’s production into 2025.