New hires at Apple suggest work on prototyping 'Apple Car' parts

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple has picked up two more workers from the auto industry, both of whom are now believed to be at the company's "Product Realization Lab," where prototype hardware is developed.

Tesla's Model 3.
Tesla's Model 3.


One of these is David Masiukiewicz, formerly a senior CNC programmer for R&D hardware prototyping at Tesla. The other is Kevin Harvey, who was a CNC machine shop supervisor at Andretti Autosport, known for its role in professional racing leagues like IndyCar and Global Rallycross. The hires were spotted by 9to5Mac.

Masiukiewicz exited Tesla in March and began at Apple earlier this month. His LinkedIn profile describes him as a "senior model maker" at the Product Realization Lab, without going into detail about what he might be creating.

Harvey actually joined Apple as a model maker in August, but his position wasn't noticed until Friday.

The pair are presumably among a number of people working on components for Apple's electric car, rumored to launch in 2019 or 2020. Masiukiewicz has experience in machining chassis, suspension, and powertrain parts, which might imply that Apple is working towards full-scale prototype vehicles, or at least taking major parts beyond the concept phase.

Apple regularly poaches employees from Tesla, and vice versa. Earlier this week it was reported that Apple picked up Chris Porritt, Tesla's former VP of Vehicle Engineering.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    It finally dawned on me why liquid metal is so important to Apple.  I always asked what use it would have in making computers.  It probably does some, but that is not the real reason why Apple invested in this technology.  Car parts.  

    I think this car has been a long time coming.
    lostkiwicornchipanantksundaramcaliMacProjustadcomics
  • Reply 2 of 49
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,722member
    And people still think Apple is just working on an OS for other automakers. I'm sorry but you don't hire model makers and CNC experts if all you're working on is software.
    lostkiwicornchipcalijustadcomics
  • Reply 3 of 49
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,007member
    It finally dawned on me why liquid metal is so important to Apple.  I always asked what use it would have in making computers.  It probably does some, but that is not the real reason why Apple invested in this technology.  Car parts.  

    I think this car has been a long time coming.
    A liquid metal car will shatter on impact, I don't think that's a good property for a car.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,007member


    I expect something like this.
    cornchipsingularitycnocbui
  • Reply 5 of 49
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,462member
    And now Baidu has joined in the game too, opening an R&D facility for autonomous vehicles right here in California USA. Like Apple they're also poaching Tesla staff. I guess this must be the next big thing. 
  • Reply 6 of 49
    The auto industry is one of those that needs to be shaken up big time. I would not just look at the consumer side of this but also at commercial transportation...there are a lot innovations that could be game changing in this space. Should be an exciting time.
    lostkiwiirelandcornchipjustadcomics
  • Reply 7 of 49
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,622member
    It's been obvious for a while that Apple has been working on cars, even Cook kinda hinted at that (but he implied it wasn't soon). Considering EV are still not mass produced, they got 2-3 years at least to get something out. They generally come out just at the time when they can make a mark and make a decent profit from it.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    Where do you get service for an eletric car?  (Tesla, Volt, Leaf, etc)

    Do you need to get it from the original manufacturer, or does "Joe's Auto Shop" down the road have people, equipment, and parts to service these next-generation cars?  Does this imply that Apple will need to create a set of Apple Auto Service Stations across all the geographies where they sell cars?
    cornchip
  • Reply 9 of 49
    Apple can find a way to DRM the tires and battery's to there profit. Any for a $1000 battery swap? $500-$1000 for tires? and $200 to rotate the tires.
    singularitycnocbui
  • Reply 10 of 49
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 347member
    Where do you get service for an eletric car?  (Tesla, Volt, Leaf, etc)

    Do you need to get it from the original manufacturer, or does "Joe's Auto Shop" down the road have people, equipment, and parts to service these next-generation cars?  Does this imply that Apple will need to create a set of Apple Auto Service Stations across all the geographies where they sell cars?
    Yes, Apple will need to create service centers or come up with some solution for service.  I know Tesla can send a mobile service station to the owner.  I'm not sure about other brands, but I assume that since they are mainstream companies like Chevy and Nissan, their dealerships can provide service.  And I imagine that some independent mechanics can service those cars as well.  I don't think that's the case with Tesla and given Apple's history, I doubt they'll let just anybody service their vehicles.

    Service is another big reason I'm worried about the Apple Car.  Not only is designing and building a car so far out of Apple's core competencies, but they're going to have to find a way to bring their level of service to car repair.  It's not like carrying a laptop down to the Apple Store or FedExing it to Apple for repair.  Charging is a huge issue too.  Hopefully they will adopt Tesla's charging system and further build it out.  The last thing we need is another way to charge electric vehicles.  I'm very skeptical that this will go well for Apple.  They've got over 200 billion dollars burning a hole in their pocket and I can easily see them blowing through that (and a whole lot more) in no time trying to break into the car business.
  • Reply 11 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,885member
    We’ll know something is up when the next Sci-Fi blockbuster movie features a car cameo with the famous glowing Apple icon on it.
  • Reply 12 of 49
    knowitallknowitall Posts: 1,007member
    Where do you get service for an eletric car?  (Tesla, Volt, Leaf, etc)

    Do you need to get it from the original manufacturer, or does "Joe's Auto Shop" down the road have people, equipment, and parts to service these next-generation cars?  Does this imply that Apple will need to create a set of Apple Auto Service Stations across all the geographies where they sell cars?
    That's precisely the point, you don't need service with an electric car (compared to an ICE car).
    Amost all parts that can (and do) break down with your ICE car are non existent or show reduced wear and tear.
    Batteries are guaranteed by the manufacturer (8 to 10 years or so) and serviced at your home or you get a replacement car until it's repaired.
    Other fixes are OTA (in Tesla's case) and are completely hassle free.

    Try to get rid of the ICE mindset of repairs, oil, money, petrol, repairs, oil, visits to Joe's Auto Shop, breakdowns, repairs, money, oil, petrol station (again), etc. etc.
    edited April 2016 cali
  • Reply 13 of 49
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,298moderator
    robbyx said:
    Where do you get service for an eletric car?  (Tesla, Volt, Leaf, etc)

    Do you need to get it from the original manufacturer, or does "Joe's Auto Shop" down the road have people, equipment, and parts to service these next-generation cars?  Does this imply that Apple will need to create a set of Apple Auto Service Stations across all the geographies where they sell cars?
    Yes, Apple will need to create service centers or come up with some solution for service.  I know Tesla can send a mobile service station to the owner.  I'm not sure about other brands, but I assume that since they are mainstream companies like Chevy and Nissan, their dealerships can provide service.  And I imagine that some independent mechanics can service those cars as well.  I don't think that's the case with Tesla and given Apple's history, I doubt they'll let just anybody service their vehicles.

    Service is another big reason I'm worried about the Apple Car.  Not only is designing and building a car so far out of Apple's core competencies, but they're going to have to find a way to bring their level of service to car repair.  It's not like carrying a laptop down to the Apple Store or FedExing it to Apple for repair.  Charging is a huge issue too.  Hopefully they will adopt Tesla's charging system and further build it out.  The last thing we need is another way to charge electric vehicles.  I'm very skeptical that this will go well for Apple.  They've got over 200 billion dollars burning a hole in their pocket and I can easily see them blowing through that (and a whole lot more) in no time trying to break into the car business.

    ---

    Electric vehicles are actually simpler than ICE vehicles, all things being equal (like autonomous driving and other advanced systems).  Service is simpler too, and less frequent.  It won't cost Apple any of the existing cash they have in the books as the entire R&D and build out should be able to be financed via ongoing cash flows from exiting business lines.  They would surely adopt the Tesla charging standards, which are not really Tesla's; they are standards that even Tesla adopted.  And I could see Apple building out in the self-driving car-sharing model, where they would own and service the vehicles, sprinkling service/charging/clean&prep depots in and around the urban markets the fleets of cars would serve.  There are many ways forward with vehicle technology and the future of transportation, and a few very large budding segments, like autonomous driving and car-sharing, corporate fleets, special use vehicles, etc.  plenty of room for many players, of which Apple will likely be one and be very successful. 
    mwhiteanantksundaram
  • Reply 14 of 49
    levilevi Posts: 343member
    knowitall said:
    It finally dawned on me why liquid metal is so important to Apple.  I always asked what use it would have in making computers.  It probably does some, but that is not the real reason why Apple invested in this technology.  Car parts.  

    I think this car has been a long time coming.
    A liquid metal car will shatter on impact, I don't think that's a good property for a car.
    Are you certain about that? Is is my understanding that liquid metal has greater impact resistance. Also, the above comment refers to components, not an entire car. 
    mwhitecornchipanantksundaramjustadcomics
  • Reply 15 of 49
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,873member
    robbyx said:
    Where do you get service for an eletric car?  (Tesla, Volt, Leaf, etc)

    Do you need to get it from the original manufacturer, or does "Joe's Auto Shop" down the road have people, equipment, and parts to service these next-generation cars?  Does this imply that Apple will need to create a set of Apple Auto Service Stations across all the geographies where they sell cars?
    Yes, Apple will need to create service centers or come up with some solution for service.  I know Tesla can send a mobile service station to the owner.  I'm not sure about other brands, but I assume that since they are mainstream companies like Chevy and Nissan, their dealerships can provide service.  And I imagine that some independent mechanics can service those cars as well.  I don't think that's the case with Tesla and given Apple's history, I doubt they'll let just anybody service their vehicles.

    Service is another big reason I'm worried about the Apple Car.  Not only is designing and building a car so far out of Apple's core competencies, but they're going to have to find a way to bring their level of service to car repair.  It's not like carrying a laptop down to the Apple Store or FedExing it to Apple for repair.  Charging is a huge issue too.  Hopefully they will adopt Tesla's charging system and further build it out.  The last thing we need is another way to charge electric vehicles.  I'm very skeptical that this will go well for Apple.  They've got over 200 billion dollars burning a hole in their pocket and I can easily see them blowing through that (and a whole lot more) in no time trying to break into the car business.

    ---

    Electric vehicles are actually simpler than ICE vehicles, all things being equal (like autonomous driving and other advanced systems).  Service is simpler too, and less frequent.  It won't cost Apple any of the existing cash they have in the books as the entire R&D and build out should be able to be financed via ongoing cash flows from exiting business lines.  They would surely adopt the Tesla charging standards, which are not really Tesla's; they are standards that even Tesla adopted.  And I could see Apple building out in the self-driving car-sharing model, where they would own and service the vehicles, sprinkling service/charging/clean&prep depots in and around the urban markets the fleets of cars would serve.  There are many ways forward with vehicle technology and the future of transportation, and a few very large budding segments, like autonomous driving and car-sharing, corporate fleets, special use vehicles, etc.  plenty of room for many players, of which Apple will likely be one and be very successful. 
    Another issue facing Apple is how will they sell their cars? If Apple starts selling cars directly, they will be facing the ridiculous fight Tesla is facing trying to sell directly. I guess some states think car companies don't have the right to make and sell cars directly. So much for the land of the free. 
  • Reply 16 of 49
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,068member
    Will still be a number of years before we see the fruits of this engineering and prototyping work, if ever. I'm interested that they're working on this and would be thrilled if I could actually afford the end product. ;)
    cornchip
  • Reply 17 of 49
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,873member
    levi said:
    knowitall said:
    A liquid metal car will shatter on impact, I don't think that's a good property for a car.
    Are you certain about that? Is is my understanding that liquid metal has greater impact resistance. Also, the above comment refers to components, not an entire car. 
    I could be wrong, but I really don't see Apple using liquid metal in car parts. Based on the properties of liquid metal, it doesn't make sense or would even work. I think Apple will be using liquid metal in their products. I'm sure we will see an iPhone made out of liquid metal. If you think about it, it makes sense. Liquid metal is way more resistant to dents, nicks, and scratches. A liquid metal phone would be way more durable than a metal phone. In theory, if you dropped a liquid metal phone, it should actually bounce. It's going to be very interesting to see what Apple has in store for us. 
    cornchiplevijustadcomics
  • Reply 18 of 49
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,152moderator
    knowitall said:
    It finally dawned on me why liquid metal is so important to Apple.  I always asked what use it would have in making computers.  It probably does some, but that is not the real reason why Apple invested in this technology.  Car parts.  

    I think this car has been a long time coming.
    A liquid metal car will shatter on impact, I don't think that's a good property for a car.
    Tesla uses ceramic bearings in their motor, that's the kind of thing liquid metal would be better suited for:

    http://insideevs.com/tesla-model-s-makes-use-skf-ceramic-motor-bearings-video/
    The auto industry is one of those that needs to be shaken up big time. I would not just look at the consumer side of this but also at commercial transportation...there are a lot innovations that could be game changing in this space. Should be an exciting time.
    The likes of Uber has shown a large demand for service vehicles and there's a cost breakdown here:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/uber-customer-cost-breakdown-morgan-stanley-2015-2



    With a driverless car, the fare can cut in half straight away or pad out the margins while still massively undercutting the competition. Fuel cost is a lot lower with electricity, at least 1/5th and maintenance should be lower, it would be around $0.58 per mile vs $1.50 for Uber.

    Ideally the car would pay for itself after a reasonable mileage like under 50,000 miles. Net profit per mile would have to be ~$0.40 per mile to pay for a car that cost $20k to build and it could make this in the first year. Then it's $20k profit per year. This would be equivalent to about the profit of 100 iPhones per vehicle so 100 cars in 10,000 cities = 100 million iPhones per year. 1 million cars is what it takes to even get anywhere near the money they make with the iPhone, Uber has 1 million drivers. These would be city vehicles and cities can mandate that only driverless vehicles are allowed. They could have designs more like the following, although this one has rear wheels going round the doors, which isn't practical:



    These would be low speed (~20mph) so designing for impact protection wouldn't be a priority, it would be much like a bus. They would be low enough cost to potentially replace buses and it helps the elderly and disabled as it comes right to the door. It would help when people are out drinking and need to get home safely, no overcharging, no chance of assault of either the driver or passenger.

    20mph x 12 hour operation = 240 mile range per day so they just get charged every day when they run out.

    People would commute to the cities in other vehicles, leave them charging in a parking garage and take one of these pods into the city.

    This is already being trialled in some countries:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/05/driverless-robot-taxis-to-be-tested-in-japanese-town
    http://www.digitaltrends.com/cars/a-driverless-taxi-called-snuber-is-picking-up-passengers-in-south-korea/
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2016-01/29/driverless-autonomous-cars-london

    It could work for parcel deliveries, maybe groceries. The items can be stored in smart-locked containers and it drives to the doors and alerts the owner who unlocks their container with their phone and that unlock acts as a digital receipt of collection.
    edited April 2016 justadcomics
  • Reply 19 of 49
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 347member
    Electric vehicles are actually simpler than ICE vehicles, all things being equal (like autonomous driving and other advanced systems).  Service is simpler too, and less frequent.  It won't cost Apple any of the existing cash they have in the books as the entire R&D and build out should be able to be financed via ongoing cash flows from exiting business lines.  They would surely adopt the Tesla charging standards, which are not really Tesla's; they are standards that even Tesla adopted.  And I could see Apple building out in the self-driving car-sharing model, where they would own and service the vehicles, sprinkling service/charging/clean&prep depots in and around the urban markets the fleets of cars would serve.  There are many ways forward with vehicle technology and the future of transportation, and a few very large budding segments, like autonomous driving and car-sharing, corporate fleets, special use vehicles, etc.  plenty of room for many players, of which Apple will likely be one and be very successful. 
    I think you're being a bit optimistic, but I agree in general.  Yes, EV service is simpler, but it's more than bellying up to the genius bar.  It's still a car and there will be service needs that simply can't be performed out of a store front.  Your suggestion regarding what Apple might do is interesting and one I've heard kicked around a few times.  I think it makes a lot more sense to create something along those lines than try to compete head to head with traditional car companies the way Tesla has done.  No doubt the transportation sector is going to see some radical changes in the coming decades.  The first self-driving semi trucks just completed a 1000 mile test in Europe not too long ago.  Once this technology goes mainstream, it will be huge.  All of that said, I'm 50/50 on the Apple Car idea.  I get why it would appeal to Apple and I'm not saying they can't pull it off.  But I'm also under no illusion that just because it's Apple, it will be amazing and revolutionary.  It's a tough, tough business, EV or not.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 347member

    Will still be a number of years before we see the fruits of this engineering and prototyping work, if ever. I'm interested that they're working on this and would be thrilled if I could actually afford the end product. ;)
    This is one of the primary issues with the Apple Car.  They are late to the party.  By the time Apple unveils its first vehicle, Tesla will likely have delivered the bulk of today's 400,000+ Model 3 reservations.  They will have likely announced their next model (I'm putting my money on a light truck).  They have already captured a huge amount of mindshare and I imagine a lot of those Model 3 reservations are people who would have been Apple customers.  So, unless Apple takes a completely different approach (wouldn't be the first time) as others have suggested, something along the lines of transportation as a service, I don't see an Apple Car being a slam dunk.  One thing is certain, the next few years will prove interesting!
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