Apple, the very well known tech company, is now planning on stepping into the automotive industry with its own self-driving car expected to release in 2024. Electric vehicles are now integrating with technology; hence the crossover of two industries is becoming common. Apple initiated the project under the name Titan in 2014 but hasn’t achieved much since then. The product could have its own ‘advanced’ Monocell battery design technology.
The idea of using the Monocell design is considered because it can potentially offer a long range of drive with more active material inside. Monocell battery design is the most focused design part for Apple. It bulks up individual cells in the battery freeing up more space inside the battery pack for more pouches of battery material. Above all, this is expected to reduce battery costs in electric cars as well.
Moreover, it is also expected Apple will install multiple LIDAR sensors in its electric car. While Apple is working on its own hardware for LiDAR sensors, it is also reportedly reaching out to third-party LiDAR suppliers and evaluating the technology.
Apple’s work on self-driving tech has been the most prominent part of the scheme. There is also news about Apple having a self-driving system already developed and tested on roads since Apple was permitted for that back in April 2014.
It is still unknown what the automation level of the car will be. There are yet no fully autonomous cars, and there are rumors about Apple targeting to make one. So if it’s not SAE level 5 automation, it will definitely be level 4.
SAE level 5 automation refers to driverless cars, whereas level 4 is where minimum driver involvement is needed. There are a total of six SAE levels with driver involvement increasing as the level number goes down till zero.
To bring an Apple vehicle to life, the tech giant has hired in past some renowned individuals from known technology companies. This list includes Doug Field, who previously worked for Tesla and is at Apple to oversee the project. He joined the team in 2019 and has already laid off almost 190 people from the workforce. John Giannandrea is the head of AI and is now handed the control of this project. He previously worked for Google and signed with Apple in 2018.
Apple’s automotive plans took off in 2014 when it started the Project Titan. However, the project hasn’t been the same since then as it began with the idea to design its own vehicle but reassessed its goals over the years. In 2018 it was even reported about Apple teaming up with Volkswagon for driverless cars.
A notable Apple investor, Trip Miller, was surprised at the idea of an Apple electric car. “It could be tough for Apple to produce large volumes of cars out of the gate. It would seem to me that if Apple develops some advanced operating system or battery technology, it would be best utilized in a partnership with an existing manufacturer under license. As we see with Tesla and the legacy auto companies, having a very complex manufacturing network around the globe doesn’t happen overnight.” said Miller.
The Cupertino company may also take a shift and partner up with another electric car manufacturer and only work as a supplier of next level battery or self-driving tech for such vehicles. Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, said “Still don’t really see the appeal of the car business, but Apple may be eyeing another angle than what I’m seeing.”
There is no official public announcement about Project Titan by Apple, but as Elon Musk commented, “It’s pretty hard to hide something if you hire over a thousand engineers to do it.” It is reported that over 5000 employees are already working on bringing the most out of this project. Since there’s no official statement, it could be too soon to say if Apple would end up creating just the technology to empower driverless cars or a car of its own. As usual, Apple has declined to make any comments about the project.
Apple’s EV plans are highly likely to be pushed further to 2025 due to the pandemic related delays.