Apple most often tries not to expose its new products at least until the moment when they are more or less ready for release. One of these classified projects is a car, which, according to insiders, the company has been working on for years.
Recently, you could hear different versions of the Apple Car’s release date — from 2024 to 2028. New information indicates that the company may launch such a “gadget” in 2026. At the same time, the electric car will have a custom chip of the company’s own production, will not immediately receive the functionality of fully autonomous control, and will cost less than $100,000 (previously the price tag was kept at the level of $120,000).
The rumors were different: in 2017, the company “almost abandoned the idea”, “Hyundai and Kia are also involved in the development”, “the Titan project (the code name of the car within the company) could only be a version of the autopilot for other manufacturers”, etc. Also, there were many personnel changes in the team, where the company hired specialists with considerable experience and high positions in car manufacturers.
At the beginning of last year, Mark Gurman from Bloomberg said that the release of an electric car with autopilot from Apple is half a decade away. He also emphasized that the company’s goal is a car with autopilot.
An update from Mr Gurman’s sources says that now the priority is not autonomous control, but the output of the car in principle. So don’t immediately expect a car without a steering wheel and pedals from Apple.
“In a significant shift for the project, the company is now planning a less-ambitious design that will include a steering wheel and pedals and only support full autonomous capabilities on highways, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private,” said Gurman’s unnamed sources.
However, users can still get their share of entertainment on the freeway:
Apple currently plans to develop a vehicle that lets drivers conduct other tasks — say, watch a movie or play a game — on a freeway and be alerted with ample time to switch over to manual control if they reach city streets or encounter inclement weather. The company has discussed launching the feature in North America initially and then improving and expanding it over time.
The computing capabilities of the car should also be good:
The heart of Apple’s technology is a powerful onboard computer system — codenamed Denali after the tallest mountain peak in North America — and a custom array of sensors. The processor’s performance is equal to about four of Apple’s highest-end Mac chips combined and is being developed by the company’s silicon engineering group. The chip has reached an advanced state and is considered nearly production-ready, though Apple may scale it down before the car’s launch to lower costs.
As for the exterior of the car, work is still underway. Currently, the design of the Titan project has not yet reached the prototype stage. According to the company’s plans, it should be completed next year, finished with a set of capabilities in 2024, and testing in 2025. And among those who are currently working on the project, there are many famous names:
The design of the car is being led by Ulrich Kranz, the ex-chief executive officer of Canoo, as well as former managers from Tesla, Lamborghini and Porsche. The software side of the system is led by former Tesla manager Stuart Bowers, while safety engineering, testing and regulatory matters are handled by ex-Ford Motor Co. executive Desi Ujkashevic.