Apple Car Autonomous Driving Scaled Down, Launch Planned for 2028

Apple has pivoted to simpler, less ambitious design for the Apple Car in order to actually bring the vehicle to market, reports Bloomberg. Apple initially wanted a driverless car with full autonomous capabilities, but it is now developing an electric vehicle with fewer features.

Apple car wheel icon feature triad
After abandoning the driverless plans, Apple aimed for a car with Level 4 autonomous functionality that would have allowed the car's system to take over driving in limited circumstances such as on highways, but even that was too ambitious. Apple is said to be focusing on driver-assistance features that are closer to how Tesla vehicles operate, and it will have a Level 2+ system. Level 2 autonomous driving includes steering and brake/acceleration support, but the driver remains in control of the car and must pay attention on the road.

Despite the scaling back of the project, Apple's launch timeline for the Apple Car has been adjusted. Apple wanted to introduce the car sometime around 2026, but Apple is now targeting a 2028 release at the earliest. According to Bloomberg, this marks a "pivotal moment" for the Apple Car. If the company is not able to deliver an electric vehicle with this feature set, executives may "seriously reconsider the project's existence."

Since the Apple Car was unveiled in 2014, the project has shifted and evolved several times. Rumors have at times suggested that Apple had scrapped a car altogether, focusing instead on an autonomous system, but it appears that Apple is sticking with plans to debut a full Apple-branded vehicle.

The Apple Car project has been riddled with leadership changes and internal strife over the direction of development. Apple Watch chief Kevin Lynch took over the project, and he worked with Tim Cook to adopt a new strategy after pressure from Apple's board. Apple is now meeting with potential partners in Europe to discuss the new plan.

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Top Rated Comments

omihek Avatar
26 weeks ago

Since the Apple Car was unveiled in 2014
The Apple Car was never unveiled
Score: 125 Votes (Like | Disagree)
erikkfi Avatar
26 weeks ago

lmao by then, Tesla will have put most legacy automakers in dire straits and have full self driving solved

im sure apple will totally eat Tesla's lunch, except for the fact that every apple car sold will earn Tesla profits from superchargers ?
I, too, eagerly look forward to the day when the only car company on Earth is run by a paunchy, fifty-something edgelord lunatic.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlc1978 Avatar
26 weeks ago
I think Apple would be better off developing a killer automotive software package that integrates CarPlay/Autonomous Driving/Vehicle Displays/etc. than a stand alone car. Apple isn't likely to create a category killer device like they have with existing products.

A car would require creating a whole infrastructure to sell and service them, it's not like you can pull up the the drive through Genius Bar,; and it s a market where there are a lot of brands with loyal followings. A BMW/Porsche/Full Size Pickup driver, for example, isn't likely to jump at the chance to buy an Apple Car, even if they have an iPhone.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Fly (film) Avatar
26 weeks ago
My interest level in a self-driving car: ZERO. Cars are meant to be driven. If I don't want to drive I can call an Uber, Lyft or taxi or get someone else to drive. If I have to choose between having a Porsche and owning a self-driving vehicle my choice is already done.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iOS Geek Avatar
26 weeks ago

The Apple Car was never unveiled
Haha yeah I was just about to say I could be wrong, but I don't think I EVER remember hearing ANYTHING "official" about this...
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CharlesShaw Avatar
26 weeks ago
The big question is can they name it without using the term Pro?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)