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Apple's Automobile Project Said to Include Self-Driving Cars

Following up on yesterday's series of reports about a "top-secret research team" at Apple working on an electric car, Reuters now weighs in with its own source claiming the project involves a self-driving electric car.
Technology giant Apple is learning how to make a self-driving electric car and is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers, an automotive source familiar with the talks said on Saturday.

The Cupertino, California-based maker of phones, computers and watches is exploring how to make an entire vehicle, not just designing automotive software or individual components, the source said.

"They don't appear to want a lot of help from carmakers," the source, who declined to be named, said.
The source's of claim of self-driving capabilities for the vehicle directly contradicts yesterday's Wall Street Journal report, which specifically stated a self-driving car was not part of the effort. Reuters' source is from the automotive industry rather than at Apple directly, so it is unclear how complete the source's information is.

Apple would not be the only major technology company working on self-driving cars, as Google has been working on such a project for a number of years and has made significant progress in the area. Major car manufacturers are also working hard on technology that would make their cars at least somewhat autonomous.

google_self_driving_car
Google's prototype self-driving car

Yesterday's report from The Wall Street Journal provided a fair bit of detail on Apple's efforts, noting that Tim Cook approved the project last year. Former Ford engineer and longtime Apple design vice president Steve Zadesky given permission to build a team of up to 1,000 employees largely from within the company to work on the project at a Silicon Valley location separate from Apple's main campus.

Related Roundups: CarPlay, Apple Car
Tag: reuters.com


Top Rated Comments

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20 months ago
I wonder how many industries Apple and Google will have moved into in 10 years' time.
Rating: 19 Votes
20 months ago

Going to need one of those inflatable people so I can travel in the car pool lane.


Yeah....that's the only reason I have an inflatable person too.....
Rating: 18 Votes
20 months ago
This is going to be the thinnest car ever.
Rating: 18 Votes
20 months ago
So sill the S version be faster every year?
Rating: 17 Votes
20 months ago
Don't forget, Elon Musk made the Tesla technology available for anyone to use free of charge. They have promised to not protect their patents.
http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/all-our-patent-are-belong-you

Tesla only makes expensive premium cars and people have assumed they'd make a car with this tech for the masses but Musk has shrugged off this notion, leaving that task to others.

Who? So far, no other car company I know of has taken Musk up on his offer to use this tech. Instead, they have been wasting their time developing their own systems, which, so far, have limited appeal and limited range, and perhaps too high of a price, and none of them have auto-pilot (limited assistance, not fully self-driving).

BTW, all Tesla cars in production include auto-pilot and is capable of software upgrades to make the car fully self-driving.

Apple would not have to develop their own technology, their own patents, for either the electric drive train or the autonomous features.

They may see an opportunity open to them to develop their version of what the world has been waiting for, a sub 20K USD fully electric car with plenty of range for the masses.

The media so far has confused the leaks about them developing a car with the stories about those vans shooting 3D street-view imaging. "Apple is developing a car... a van..."

Those vans are shooting Apple's version of Google's street view.
Rating: 14 Votes
20 months ago
No idea if this is true or not but I surely like the outlook to one day be able to say:

"Siri, bring me home!"
Rating: 11 Votes
20 months ago
It would be funny if some at Apple wanted self-driving cars, so made other car and tech companies accelerate their plans by giving the idea Apple were working on it.

There is a lot Apple could influence just by the idea that they might be researching that area. Perhaps that is why so much more goes into the design of TV's now.
Rating: 10 Votes
20 months ago
So is this going to force Jony Ive to give up his Bentley? Can't imagine it's very eco-friendly.

Rating: 10 Votes
20 months ago
If this really ends up being true I'll eat my own head!
Rating: 9 Votes
20 months ago

I can't really see self-driving cars being any more than a novelty. I love driving and am sure the majority of the population would agree with me. Why don't they make "smart" cars first, ones that automatically communicate with other cars, automatically reports accidents or poor driving conditions, etc. I know "there's an app for that", but the vast majority of drivers don't use them. They should come "baked in".

That, plus Apple can't even manage a flawless iPhone/iOS launch, let alone develop an automatically driving car.


I think the vast majority of people would prefer to sit back and watch tv while being driven 90% of the time.
Rating: 9 Votes

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