Apple has target ship date of 2019 for electric car project, but it won't be self driving - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited October 2015
Apple and its "Project Titan" team are reportedly reportedly working feverishly toward a planned 2019 launch of an electric vehicle, but the first model apparently will not be a self driving car.


BMW's i3 commuter car.


Citing people familiar with the project, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that a self driving car is still a part of Apple's long-term plans. But the first-generation model, scheduled to hit roads before the decade is out, will still require someone to be behind the wheel.

It was also alleged that "Project Titan" currently has 600 people working on the project, but those in charge have been given the go-ahead to triple the size of the team to 1,800 personnel.

However, the Journal also cited sources who said that some on the team believe a 2019 ship date for an "Apple Car" may not even be possible.

AppleInsider exclusively reported last week that Apple has been poaching Tesla workers to push its "Project Titan" forward. The hiring has apparently been so extensive that it has negatively affected Tesla's own internal product development.

And AppleInsider's own sources have indicated that Apple may be forced to partner with an established automotive manufacturer as it looks to bring its own vehicle to market. Specifically, the company is said to be eyeing property it recently purchased in San Jose for development and potential manufacturing.

Even Apple's legal team has played a part, as it was recently confirmed that attorneys representing Apple met with the California Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss laws surrounding autonomous vehicles. Putting a self-driving car on the road would require Apple to make public disclosures about a future product, but if the first model launches in 2019 without driverless capabilities, the iPhone maker could theoretically keep the project under wraps until it's ready to make an announcement.


Artist's (poor) rendering of an Apple garage.


Rumors have persisted throughout 2015 suggesting that an "Apple Car" is the Cupertino company's next major new product category. It's been speculated that Apple is looking to develop a self-driving automobile to compete with other projects currently in the works from traditional automakers, as well as Tesla, Google, and even Uber.

AppleInsider exclusively reported earlier this year that the bulk of "Project Titan" development is underway at a secretive facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., known by the code-name "SG5." Evidence suggests that a shell company known as SixtyEight Research may be a cover for Apple to help conceal its true operations at the Sunnyvale garage.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 166
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    And the Financial Times reported this last week:

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/965a2e38-5e3b-11e5-a28b-50226830d644.html

    [QUOTE]In June, Sir Jonathan was among some 20 high-level attendees from the automotive and technology industries at a meeting to discuss the future of the car, held at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England.

    Also present at the meeting, convened by Lord March, owner of the Goodwood estate, were auto industry luminaries such as Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche and top management from General Motors, BMW and Aston Martin.

    The three-hour meeting was held under Chatham House rules and Sir Jonathan revealed little of Apple’s plans. But the signal that Silicon Valley has the automotive sector in its targets was plain to see, one of the guests told the FT. “It was clear: the barbarians are at the gate.”[/QUOTE]
  • Reply 2 of 166
    I didn't expect it would be self driving. Apple builds products they want, and Jony likes driving.

    Also, is Apple going to try a buyout of Daimler and then it will go south, or did they make the barbarians at the gate reference unwittingly? :)
  • Reply 3 of 166
    Oh please please don't source any parts for Shitsung
  • Reply 4 of 166
    OK.. now this makes more sense.

    I never understood why so many people thought Apple was going after a self driving car. Apple refines preexisting technologies. They take something tried over and over again (and failed miserably) by others and make it easy, smooth, and slick (and successful). They're more an user interface company then a tech company in my opinion.

    They're not going to stick their neck out and be first for something as potentially disastrous as a self driving car. I foresee some very large lawsuits as more and more cars attempt self driving and fail. Even if a real person would have crashed anyways.. there will be lawsuits because nobody thinks they're a bad driver (even though they are).

    I really don't think Apple will put out a product and face the consequences of people dying from it. Just defending the lawsuits will hurt the company's image right or wrong.
  • Reply 5 of 166
    How I love that rendering! ????????????
  • Reply 6 of 166
    I didn't expect it would be self driving. Apple builds products they want, and Jony likes driving.

    I don't think that has anything to do with it. Releasing a fully autonomous car for the public throughout the US (and beyond) in 2019 simply isn't possible. This will happen and Jony may or may not be at Apple when this is under development — which I think is happening now — but this will take a lot of changes to both infrastructure and culture before this gets fully implemented with many, many intelligent components that will need to be introduced to non-autonomous vehicles before we get to that point.
  • Reply 7 of 166
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post



    I didn't expect it would be self driving. Apple builds products they want, and Jony likes driving.



    Also, is Apple going to try a buyout of Daimler and then it will go south, or did they make the barbarians at the gate reference unwittingly? image

    It would make zero sense for Apple to start out with a self driving car. Baby steps. But I think there's enough smoke now that this project is more than just software for existing car makers. Apple has done nothing to quiet these rumors unlike the MVNO rumors they were quick to squash.

  • Reply 8 of 166
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,833member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Serendip View Post



    I really don't think Apple will put out a product and face the consequences of people dying from it. Just defending the lawsuits will hurt the company's image right or wrong.

    I agree.  The whole self-driving car concept is not something to be taken lightly. Bringing them to the market will not only be fraught with danger (for companies and the public), but it will take place over a very, very long timeframe.  Think about how many cars there are in just the U.S., and how many roads, and intersections and bridges and tunnels and so on.  Then think about all the humans in normal cars interacting with all that infrastructure, sometimes in stupid and uninformed ways.  Throwing self-driving cars into that mix is going to be a witches brew of liability, fear, and chaos.  It will take decades before any meaningful number of cars are driving autonomously in the US.  We first might see roads and highways specifically designated for these cars to keep them separated from the masses and to help the public get used to them.  Any company planning to make a push in this area better be capable of serious long term planning and strategy.  Including pushing lots of money to lobbyists.

  • Reply 9 of 166
    I also didn't think autonomous was in their scope. it's still too new and more testing will be required. That will prevent them from beating others to the punch. Yes there are others that already have an early start but apple wants to be at least in the top 3 when its time to show it off! I still believe it will be an i3 power train and platform but with a better form factor. I don't think they will provide Android auto though lol... Can't wait to see this crazy but thrilling idea!
  • Reply 10 of 166
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sog35 View Post

     

    ok. 

     

    Where are all the people who said Apple wasn't building a car but just a dashboard.

     

    come on. admit you were wrong.


     

    A lot of so-called smart people thought this, for example, Tim Bajarin. I never did because Apple's MO has never been to be a piece of technology or software in someone else product. The closest we got was Motorola ROKR and we all know how that turned out. Another reason I never thought this is because there is zero indication current car companies are willing to give up their dashboard to Apple or Google. Heck, just last week the CEO of Daimler said he wasn't going to be the Foxconn of cars and they couldn't give up the brains to Apple or Google. Also when you're a company with $200B+ in revenues you need something big to move the needle and CarPlay licensing and Apple Music/TV subscriptions aren't going to do it.

  • Reply 11 of 166

    If one must drive a car, then there are plenty of good cars that people love that are already on the market. It's not like the smartphone market in 2007. 

     

    The problem with cars is that driving sucks for reasons that are external to the hardware itself. That is, there's the annoyance of dealing with traffic and the opportunity cost of your time, particularly for commuters. If you really want to make automobile transportation a better experience then you need to eliminate the need to drive. 

     

    One way to do that is with self-driving cars. Another way to do that is through services like Uber. Another is through traditional taxi services. Of those three, Uber is the best, but it's still not what I'd call a "great" transportation service experience. 

     

    I've been thinking that Apple's approach to cars would be to offer transportation as a service (like Uber), but with greater vertical integration (including designing their own cars) allowing for greater control over the experience. I had assumed this would necessitate self-driving cars but I guess that's not really true -- Apple could directly employ human drivers. Maybe that's what they'll do, at least for a while. 

     

    Mark my words, though -- Apple will not be selling cars to end-users in the way they sell Macs to end users. This is going to be a transportation service that you can access through your iPhone or Apple Watch. 

  • Reply 12 of 166
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    If they are making a car, which I think is still uncertain, which categories of auto will they likely start out with?

    According to Edmunds, they have 21 different categories.

     


    1. Compact Car

    2. Compact Crossover SUV

    3. Compact Truck

    4. Entry Luxury Car

    5. Entry Luxury SUV

    6. Entry Sport Car

    7. Large Car

    8. Large Crossover SUV

    9. Large Traditional SUV

    10. Large Truck

    11. Midrange Luxury Car

    12. Midrange Luxury SUV

    13. Midsize Car

    14. Midsize Crossover SUV

    15. Midsize Traditional SUV

    16. Minivan

    17. Premium Luxury Car

    18. Premium Luxury SUV

    19. Premium Sport Car

    20. Subcompact Car

    21. Van


  • Reply 13 of 166
    Not entirely sure what Apple can bring to the car market except for more convenient tech, and other than self-driving car, the rest of the features are kind of underwhelming. Unless they have some breakthrough battery tech up their sleeve, I'll stick to buying a Benz.
  • Reply 14 of 166

    Maybe Car 1.0 won't have self driving but Car 2.0 might.

  • Reply 15 of 166
    The liability for self driving cars will be enormous for any manufacturer. I just don't see it being a viable option due to the legal system, not due to any technical reason. There's a similar issue with air delivery drones, the liability, for example, when the drone crashes onto a road causing a major traffic accident would just be too high to justify the revenue from operation.
  • Reply 16 of 166

    I'm not sure if this is "Apple". Can you imagine hundreds of of local Apple Repair Shops with Apple Cars lifted high up in the air, sweaty and greasy mechanics repairing broken parts, explaining to customers why they really need that "15,000 mile 4 wheel alignment"?

  • Reply 17 of 166

    I disagree about CarPlay. Everyone said the same about smart phones and look where that took us.  The wireless providers that didn't want to jump on board felt the brunt of the $$$ lost at first...  CarPlay is a big marketing angle for the younger car buyers (Android as well).  I think it can help the car manufacturers immensely to increase sales even if it just 5 to 10%.

  • Reply 18 of 166
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Why is that green car floating in the air? Is Apple making a hovercraft?<img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 19 of 166
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    I wonder if Apple purposely leaked this today because of what happened to VW. Perfect day for something like this to leak.

  • Reply 20 of 166
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,922member
    mstone wrote: »
    If they are making a car, which I think is still uncertain, which categories of auto will they likely start out with?
    According to Edmunds, they have 21 different categories.
    1. Compact Car
    2. Compact Crossover SUV
    3. Compact Truck
    4. Entry Luxury Car
    5. Entry Luxury SUV
    6. Entry Sport Car
    7. Large Car
    8. Large Crossover SUV
    9. Large Traditional SUV
    10. Large Truck
    11. Midrange Luxury Car
    12. Midrange Luxury SUV
    13. Midsize Car
    14. Midsize Crossover SUV
    15. Midsize Traditional SUV
    16. Minivan
    17. Premium Luxury Car
    18. Premium Luxury SUV
    19. Premium Sport Car
    20. Subcompact Car
    21. Van

    Midsize car or premium luxury. Definitely not an SVU the first time around if this report is true.
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