Apple ramps up work on fully autonomous 'Apple Car,' targets 2025 release

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2021
Apple is preparing to accelerate development of its electric self-driving "Apple Car" with a new focus on a vehicle that's fully autonomous and a potential launch date in 2025.

Credit: AppleInsider
Credit: AppleInsider


Reportedly, Apple has explored two potential options for its self-driving car: a model with limited autonomous abilities like current production vehicles or a version that can fully drive itself without human intervention. According to Bloomberg, the company has settled on the latter.

Under new Project Titan leader Kevin Lynch, who spearheaded Apple Watch software development, Apple is pushing for a vehicle with full self-driving capabilities in the first version, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The change in direction is only the latest shift for Apple's Special Project Group, which has seen a number of staff restructurings and strategy changes since it kicked off in 2014.

Internally, Apple is targeting the launch of its self-driving car in 2025. However, that timeline is fluid, and the company could always opt to release a vehicle without full autonomous capabilities by then.

The "Apple Car" itself may lack a steering wheel and pedals and feature an interior designed for hands-off travel -- which could look like a limousine with passengers facing each other. Apple has also explored the possibility of the car's infotainment system being placed in the middle of the vehicle. The car will undoubtedly integrate with Apple's existing services.

While the vehicle may lack a steering wheel, Apple engineers and executives have discussed the possibility of an emergency takeover mode.

Apple's Project Titan has reportedly met a key milestone in the development of the "Apple Car," said Bloomberg's sources. The Cupertino tech giant believes it has completed much of the work needed on the self-driving chip required for the vehicle's first generation. As a result, those advancements could soon make their way to road tests.

The "Apple Car" chip is said to be the most advanced component that Apple has developed and is primarily made up of neural processors that handle the machine learning and artificial intelligence required for self-driving cars. Its sophistication will mean that thermals will be a concern, and it'll likely demand a special cooling system.

Apple is also working to build robust safety mechanisms and mitigation features into the "Apple Car" that extend far beyond that rivals like Waymo and Tesla offer.

The goal is to create a vehicle that "can spare customers from driving fatigue when they're on long road trips," but 2025 is an aggressive timeline for the company, even with the recent milestones.

Apple's ultimate goal is currently a holy grail for the automobile industry. Current automakers like Tesla have spent years researching and developing autonomous vehicles. However, no automaker has met that goal yet.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,070member
    You’ll have to color me skeptical that Apple will release a full self driving car right out of the gate.  They just don’t have the mileage and experience that Tesla has.  And Tesla still hasn’t achieved FSD, although it is closing in on that goal.

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Hey, everyone likes to play with vacuum cleaner robots, putting some obstacles in their way etc. – would be too nice to play this game with cars :smile: 
    williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 3 of 25
    dk49dk49 Posts: 188member
    JWSC said:
    You’ll have to color me skeptical that Apple will release a full self driving car right out of the gate.  They just don’t have the mileage and experience that Tesla has.  And Tesla still hasn’t achieved FSD, although it is closing in on that goal.

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.
    I think people will accept a self driving car without steering wheel if the car is exceptionally good at keeping them entertained or productive while they ride. And ofcourse, it must have level 5 autonomy. As far as the first aspect is concerned, Apple has the best chance out of any automaker to achieve it. As for the level 5 autonomy, that's certainly going to be a challenge. So initially Apple might release a model with steering wheel and limited autonomous capabilities. However long-term they will definitely remove it once they reach the desired level of self driving capability.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,847member
    JWSC said:

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.

    And will the required rules and regulations be in place by 2025 that would even allow a fully autonomous vehicle on the roads???
    80s_Apple_Guy
  • Reply 5 of 25
    Bloomberg? Uh, yeah, whatever.
    beowulfschmidtbaconstangwilliamlondonStrangeDaysqwerty52
  • Reply 6 of 25
    As a sage once pontificated, Apple isn’t just going to jump in and win in this category.  Why, there are automakers with over 100 years of experience, not to mention watchmakers with over 100 years of experience, or portable phone makers with decades of experience, or …
    williamlondonStrangeDaysMacPropatchythepirateradarthekat
  • Reply 7 of 25
    So, Apple is just going to waltz in with a functioning autonomous vehicle in 3-4 years?
    Tesla has been working on this for how long?  And they appear to me to be at least 10 years away from Level 5.
  • Reply 8 of 25
    Sure Bloomberg, sure. They made it up and AI jumped at the chance to run something since it's been a few weeks since their last story. One thing is for sure - none of this BS report came from Apple.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Never happen. No way FSD would be ready so soon, let alone legal on the roads. 
    muthuk_vanalingamravnorodom
  • Reply 10 of 25
    cg27cg27 Posts: 145member
    I’d be happy if I could just get LookAround for my neck of the woods.  Saw the Apple Chrysler minivans with cameras running around in 2015 and 6+ years later still nothing.

    The updated Maps app looks nice and zooms in more but the 2D satellite image is older than the previous version.  

    Maybe if/when Apple launches L5 Autonomous vehicles they can unleash them everywhere with cameras and finally be competitive with their Maps app.
    williamlondonbaconstangmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Apple won’t build a car for sale; that’s a ludicrous idea. 

    They’ll make the chip, sensors, and SW and sell those to automakers, rather than making the car itself. 

    Follows the CarPlay model, leverages the relationships and contacts they’ve made with CarPlay, and doesn’t have NEARLY the cost of entry manufacturing a car themselves would entail. 
    radarthekat
  • Reply 12 of 25
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,525member
    JWSC said:
    You’ll have to color me skeptical that Apple will release a full self driving car right out of the gate.  They just don’t have the mileage and experience that Tesla has.  And Tesla still hasn’t achieved FSD, although it is closing in on that goal.

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.
    I'm skeptical that we'll see:

    (1) 'no steering wheel' (or something so autonomous that the steering wheel is there for psychological comfort only)
    AND (2) sold direct to consumers
    AND (3) released before 2030

    BUT -- if you drop #2, then I think it's more plausible. In that scenario, Apple could sell rides in one of their cars through the iPhone. That would solve a lot of problems because it would mean that they could have the cars only provide rides along approved/validated routes. If somebody requested a ride that Apple can't fulfill, they could fall back to Uber or Lyft and their human drivers. 
    roundaboutnow
  • Reply 13 of 25
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,070member
    Apple won’t build a car for sale; that’s a ludicrous idea. 

    They’ll make the chip, sensors, and SW and sell those to automakers, rather than making the car itself. 

    Follows the CarPlay model, leverages the relationships and contacts they’ve made with CarPlay, and doesn’t have NEARLY the cost of entry manufacturing a car themselves would entail. 
    And what fool of an automobile manufacturer would take up Apple’s offerings in those areas?  All that does is give Apple more leverage in the automotive market.  CarPlay - sure.  Anything do to with entertainment - sure.  Processors and sensors related to the basic functions of an automobile - not a chance.
    fastasleepdk49
  • Reply 14 of 25
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 1,721member
    blastdoor said:
    JWSC said:
    You’ll have to color me skeptical that Apple will release a full self driving car right out of the gate.  They just don’t have the mileage and experience that Tesla has.  And Tesla still hasn’t achieved FSD, although it is closing in on that goal.

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.
    I'm skeptical that we'll see:

    (1) 'no steering wheel' (or something so autonomous that the steering wheel is there for psychological comfort only)
    AND (2) sold direct to consumers
    AND (3) released before 2030

    BUT -- if you drop #2, then I think it's more plausible. In that scenario, Apple could sell rides in one of their cars through the iPhone. That would solve a lot of problems because it would mean that they could have the cars only provide rides along approved/validated routes. If somebody requested a ride that Apple can't fulfill, they could fall back to Uber or Lyft and their human drivers. 
    There will come a point where most cars are sold to carshare programs not single owner. 

    I see the market for 2 as a Den that moves. People will buy them because they have stuff they want to have with them. Kids stuff while they have young family. Workstuff for the road worrier. Tradespeople with utes full of kit. Still a big chunk of the market now and a probably a higher percentage of the future market. 

    I would have thought Apple would go Full self Driving but geographically limited to start. Build their own fleet for staff transport and semi-autonomous for staff and local sales in the Bay Area. Sell the crew pods to other campus-type companies build up the capabilities by region not by skill until they hit a critical mass of data and learning. 
  • Reply 15 of 25
    Apple won’t build a car for sale; that’s a ludicrous idea. 

    They’ll make the chip, sensors, and SW and sell those to automakers, rather than making the car itself. 

    Follows the CarPlay model, leverages the relationships and contacts they’ve made with CarPlay, and doesn’t have NEARLY the cost of entry manufacturing a car themselves would entail. 
    Speaking of ludicrous ideas, yours is 100% wrong. It’s like you don’t even know Apple. 

    CarPlay is literally just an extension of the iPhone and is absolutely nothing like what you’re describing with Titan. 
    edited November 2021 roundaboutnow
  • Reply 16 of 25
    The market for FSD isn't even born yet, it's very much anyone's game. (Tesla doesn't have it and is no more certain to lead this space than early automakers were in the era of ICE.)
  • Reply 17 of 25
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,070member
    mike1 said:
    JWSC said:

    And a car without a steering wheel?  No.  Even though it could prove to be very useful long term, I can’t see a large market for that in the next decade.  The psychological leap buyers would need to take to accept a car without some sort of manual control will take time to evolve.  Many will never accept it.  A younger generation may be more willing however.

    And will the required rules and regulations be in place by 2025 that would even allow a fully autonomous vehicle on the roads???
    With some exceptions, Musk has taken the approach of do first and ask for forgiveness later.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes not.  Nevertheless, he’ll continue to press the regulatory limits.  We’ll see a lot of uncomfortable squirming by regulators and auto companies as they jostle publicly to take the narrative lead in safety.

    When FSD is well and truly ready I don’t think it will take very long for regulators to flip.  Insurance companies will drive the change when auto accident statistics roll in with FSD autos showing a minuscule accident rate compared with conventional drivers behind the wheel.  Insurance companies will love FSD.  Money talks.
    edited November 2021
  • Reply 18 of 25
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,240member
    Will it recharge in the same amount of time it takes to fill up an ICE vehicle with petrol?
  • Reply 19 of 25
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,617member
    If Apple has plan to produce fully autonomous EV car. it will happen and will happen in time frame Apple decides which obviously based on there view on right time to introduce. 
  • Reply 20 of 25
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,035member
    The market for FSD isn't even born yet, it's very much anyone's game. (Tesla doesn't have it and is no more certain to lead this space than early automakers were in the era of ICE.)
    Yes they have been born and are called Generation Z.  And they can’t be bothered to look up from their screens to do something as mundane as driving a car.
    williamlondonentropys
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