Apple Working Toward Fully Autonomous Car With No Steering Wheel or Pedals, Aiming to Launch in 2025

Apple is picking up its work on an Apple-designed car and is aiming to create a fully autonomous vehicle, reports Bloomberg. Apple is "refocusing" the project around full self-driving vehicles, a goal that other car manufacturers have not been able to achieve.

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow
Work on an Apple Car began way back in 2014, and since then, the project has gone through multiple transformations. At one point, rumors suggested Apple had abandoned its plans for a full vehicle and would instead focus on software, but rumors began picking up again in 2020. It's now been made clear that Apple intends to launch its own vehicle.

As Bloomberg explains, Apple worked on two vehicle paths, one with limited self-driving capabilities and a second with full self-driving functionality that does not require human intervention, and the company will now pursue this second path under the leadership of Kevin Lynch, who joined the project earlier this year. Apple has hit a "milestone" in developing the self-driving car system, and has finished the core work on the chip that will power the first car.

The Apple car chip is the most advanced component that Apple has developed internally and is made up primarily of neural processors that can handle the artificial intelligence needed for autonomous driving. The chip's capabilities mean it will run hot and likely require the development of a sophisticated cooling system.

The hope is to develop a vehicle that can spare customers from driving fatigue when they're on long trips. But building an actual car - for an auto industry outsider like Apple - will require partnerships. The company has discussed deals with multiple manufacturers and has considered potentially building the vehicle in the U.S.

Apple wants to design a car that lacks a steering wheel or pedals, and with an interior that's aimed at hands-off driving. Bloomberg said that Apple has considered a design similar to the Lifestyle Vehicle from Canoo, in which passengers sit along the sides of the vehicle, facing one another.

Apple is still discussing the inclusion of a steering wheel, which may be required so people can take over in an emergency situation An iPad-like tablet could be in the middle of the vehicle, which passengers would be able to interact with.

Apple wants its car to be safer than those manufactured by Waymo and Tesla, with redundancies and failsafes to avoid failures. The vehicle will be electric, with Apple discussing charging that's compatible with the combined charging system so Apple vehicle owners can use a global network of chargers.

Using Lexus SUVs outfitted with LiDAR scanners and other equipment, Apple has been testing its self-driving system. Bloomberg says that Apple will test the new processor that it has developed in those cars, along with new self-driving sensors.

Apple is said to be aiming to launch its self-driving car in four years, which would put a debut right around 2025. Whether Apple will be able to hit that goal will depend on whether Apple can develop a full self-driving system. Should it not be able to meet its aims, Apple could delay launch or sell a car that's less technologically advanced. The timeline is aggressive, and Apple is ramping up hiring to meet deadlines.

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Top Rated Comments

shyam09 Avatar
33 months ago

I understand getting me from point A to point B in the general sense. But what if I need to back up 6 feet at a certain angle so I can get my car in position to pick up a piece of furniture or something? They must make it so that some type of manual control is possible, no? I've always wondered about this.
That's what Siri is for.

Hey Siri, I need to pick up a piece of furniture so I need you to back up 6 feet at a 124.4 degree angle.

Siri: Taking you to Fullerton, CA. *seatbelt automatically straps*

Hey Siri.

Siri: *silent*

Hey Siri

Siri: *silent*

HEY SIIIRRRIIII

Siri: How can I help you?

STOP THE CAR

Siri: Pulling up web information on "Stop the Car"
Score: 117 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zdigital2015 Avatar
33 months ago
There is no way on God’s green Earth that I am ever going to drive, much less own a car with no steering wheel and no pedals. Even Apple isn’t that good. Hard pass.
Score: 97 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HughRR Avatar
33 months ago
I think it’s more likely I’ll be riding a rocket propelled space unicorn in 2025.
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DesertDrummer Avatar
33 months ago
I think the odds of realistically producing a car that drives on roads alongside human drivers but has no pedals or steering wheel is approximately zero, at least in the "near to moderately-near future". I'm a big fan of aggressive innovation, but this is just not realistic in the world today.

I think they could probably produce something that works in "closed environments" like within a park or a campus, but a vehicle with no emergency human-override option on open roads is a non-starter. Let's not smoke too much dope here.
Score: 61 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jz0309 Avatar
33 months ago
Designing is one thing.
Getting it manufactured and approved on the road another… not buying the timeline
Score: 51 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antiprotest Avatar
33 months ago
I hope all the hardware and software defects in recent years has been because they transferred all the competent people to the car department, 'cause if they're the same kind of people...:eek:
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)