Apple Car Design Goals: No Steering Wheel or Brake Pedal, Flat Seats for Sleeping, Large Screens, and More

The Information's Wayne Ma today published an in-depth report reflecting on Apple's struggles to build a self-driving electric vehicle, including technical challenges and several leadership changes since the project began around eight years ago.

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Notably, the report reveals some interesting details about the physical appearance of the so-called "Apple Car." The latest design of the vehicle is said to feature four seats that face inward, allowing passengers to have face-to-face conversations with one another, along with a curved ceiling that resembles the roof on a Volkswagen Beetle.

The report claims that Apple's designers are also experimenting with a trunk compartment that rises for easy access, and then automatically lowers when not in use. Likewise, the designers are said to have discussed large seat-back screens that rise and lower.

Apple's former design chief Jony Ive has remained involved with the project as a consultant, according to the report. Ive, who left Apple in 2019 to start independent design firm LoveFrom, apparently advised the Apple Car team that they "should lean into the weirdness of the vehicle's design and not try to hide its sensors."

As previously reported, The Information says Apple is aiming to gain exemptions from the U.S.'s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to release a vehicle without a steering wheel and brake pedal. Interestingly, the report claims that Apple has even discussed allowing passengers to lie flat and sleep in the vehicle.

As the Apple Car slowly inches towards launching, Apple is now discussing how to disguise the latest prototype of the vehicle during testing in the public, according to the report. However, the vehicle is likely years away from release.

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Top Rated Comments

ipedro Avatar
25 months ago
It’s not a car as we know it. It’s a service.

To understand what Apple is aiming for, we have to wipe clear what we’ve known about cars and look to how the newer generation are using cars — at least in cities. Personal transport is becoming a service. In a world where Uber is ubiquitous, fewer and fewer young people are getting their drivers’ licenses because they can pull out their phone and within 5 minutes there’s a car pulling up, taking them to where they need to go. Those of us who grew up in a car era with the romance of driving one and owning one and washing it in the driveway — we are not the target, unless we want to be. Apple is looking way ahead.

Apple was never in a business position to sell cars. iPhones, iPads, Watches, AirPods and Macs are more expensive than their industry counterparts but they still fall within the price accessibility of a large enough portion of users that Apple can make a business out of it. The same is not true for cars. A car is already very expensive, add the Apple tax and only wealthy folks would be able to afford it. Apple is not in the rich customer exclusivity niche.

Apple is getting into this sector because they must, in order to compete. It’s no secret that Google is doing the same and they cannot allow themselves to be in a position where Google or other third parties control one of the largest services that could then dictate how Apple interacts with it.

These are going to be more like Apple Pods, than cars in the traditional sense of the word. You’ll tap your watch and a Pod will show up, take you to where you need to go and then pick up the next passenger. No driver, no user steering, all Apple experience inside.

There will always be cars that we drive ourselves and Apple seems to be doubling down on partnering with other manufacturers to bring their experience into those vehicles. But what Apple is releasing themselves, is leaping over that industry and into something completely new.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
25 months ago
No steering wheels and brake pedals?

What are we supposed to rely on? Siri??? :rolleyes:
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bokito Avatar
25 months ago
After reading the title I thought this is total BS, but after reading:

Apple's former design chief Jony Ive has remained involved with the project as a consultant, according to the report.
The whole report became a whole lot more credible.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
25 months ago

No steering wheels and brake pedals?

What are we supposed to rely on? Siri??? :rolleyes:
You ever watch the Flinstones?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Red Oak Avatar
25 months ago
What an over engineered mess Titan is

No one in their right mind is going to get into a vehicle they cannot manually control if necessary

And: whoever spent the resources to do that polished video with drones footage of the car driving through empty roads of Montana should be fired
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fwmireault Avatar
25 months ago
This car will be an engineering and technical challenge in itself, but without steering wheel and break pedal, it will also need a lot of social acceptability and will have to overcome a lot of road legislation

No way there is a commercialized apple car in 2025.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)