4 Ripe Questions About Apple’s Big Bite Into Autos

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple announces electric car for 2019.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, leaders of the vehicle project, code-named Titan, were given permission to triple their 600-person staff as they work toward the goal.

The company has been in talks for more than a year over how to realize the idea of an Apple car – meetings that included state officials in California. While Apple has never officially confirmed it is planning to build a car, there are strong indications it is at least interested in automotive technology. The rumours have been further stoked by Apple’s huge new hiring push, bringing experts in areas including driverless cars and batteries, many of which have been hired from traditional carmakers. The Journal reported that, despite hiring experts in driverless cars, the vehicle expected to be shipped in 2019 will not be autonomous and that Apple does not have immediate plans to create such a car. Apple representatives in May also met with officials at an automotive testing facility east of San Francisco, and last month an Apple attorney met with officials at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to discuss the state’s regulations for self-driving cars. “DMV often meets with various companies regarding DMV operations.

The company will be hoping that the skills that have made the iPhones and other devices such a success — such as batteries and design — will also help create the new generation of cars. Technology writer Adrienne LaFrance explained in The Atlantic why it would make sense for Apple to introduce an electric car before an self-driving car, noting that easing into the market would allow Apple to test its operating systems while letting other companies fight what are sure to be bruising and protracted regulatory battles.

As electric and driverless vehicles approach, both traditional carmakers and computer manufacturers have both looked to gain a foothold in the new industry. A number of automakers and tech firms, including Google Inc and Uber Technologies Inc, are working on technology for autonomous and electric-powered vehicles. Though some of those employees include self-driving car experts, that functionality will likely be introduced after the car is released, according to the same report. One is Volkswagen’s Megan McClain, who specializes in engineering automated driving systems and does research at Carnegie Mellon University, the main home of research and development of the technology; the other is a Tesla Motors’ senior engineer, who was not named.

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