In a move that could tie him to the market leader in electric vehicles, Tesla, Apple has begun working aggressively on its fully autonomous electric car. Bloomberg reported. Car development has been on Apple’s agenda since 2014, but the company’s latest steps signal a push to make Apple’s car a reality.
Given Apple’s history of taking regularly used products and transforming them into their mandatory versions using excellent design, this is hardly a surprise. With Steve Jobs at the helm, Apple made the iPod even when music players were ubiquitous. The company then unveiled the iPhone when Nokia was still selling resistive touch screens as its premium product. And recently, the Apple Watch has become the “it” to wear, although there are other smartwatch options on the market. At a time when electric vehicles are booming, it seems natural that the electric car is Apple’s next target.
Last week we covered plausibly first look at the Apple Car which was created by gathering details from Apple’s patents. The Cupertino-based company will certainly add its own design factor and make the end result look unique. However, as with Apple products, this is what is inside that intrigues and excites people the most.
According to a Bloomberg report, Apple has appointed Kevin Lynch – the man who made Apple Watches as it is – to control the project. Lynch has no experience in automotive manufacturing, but Apple has hired former executives from Tesla, the electrical division of BMW, Volvo, Daimler and General Motors to provide the necessary technical expertise. Lynch is still watching the development of the Apple Watch, but is currently more focused on the car, the report said.
Apple is probably looking to deliver a fully autonomous car through this project. While Tesla-like people are still working to improve full autonomy, the report says Apple has recently reached a key stage in achieving that in Apple’s car. Given that the company now designs the processors for its products itself, the team of silicon engineers can specifically design chips to meet the extremely complex software that will power the autonomous mode, not the other way around, the report said.
Looking at Apple’s recent job postings, Bloomberg also suggests that Apple has moved beyond the design of the car and is working on the interface that the driver will engage with. It is expected to look and work a lot like iOS, the interface will be something that all passengers in the car will deal with, as it may not need a driver behind the wheel. And given Apple’s minimalist trends, there may not be a steering wheel at all.
The tension around car design may take longer to resolve, however autonomous driving mode may be revealed earlier when Apple takes it on a test drive. Bloomberg reports that Apple currently has a fleet of 69 Lexus SUVs that could carry fully autonomous driving software under its hood. We will provide you with updates on this as soon as it is noticed.