Apple Presses Ahead With Efforts to Create Car, Though Big Issues Remain

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Inc to introduce electric car in 2019.

The maker of iPhones and iPads is tripling the number of engineers on the project, code-named Titan, and has set a “ship date” of 2019, the Wall Street Journal said Monday. The company has spent more than a year probing the feasibility of an Apple-branded car, including meeting two groups of government officials in California.

The paper cited people familiar with the matter as saying Apple isn’t yet looking to develop a car completely capable of functioning without a driver, the way Google Inc. While Apple has never officially confirmed it’s planning to build a car, there are strong indications it’s at least interested in automotive technology. Sources told Reuters in August that Apple was developing a car, but it was unclear if the iPhone maker was designing a vehicle that could drive itself.

And last month, an Apple attorney met with officials at California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss the state’s regulations for self-driving cars. It hired Megan McClain, a former Volkswagen AG engineer with expertise in automated driving, and Vinay Palakkode, a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, a hub of automated driving research.

A department spokesman confirmed that meeting to The Associated Press on Monday, after it was first reported by the Guardian newspaper. “DMV often meets with various companies regarding DMV operations. Apple is some way behind the established giants of the auto industry in wanting to bring an electric vehicle to market, but the prospect of low oil prices for the next few years may mean that that gap isn’t as much of a handicap as it would otherwise be, as consumers delay switching to EVs that are still considerably more expensive than conventional cars. Apple is not shy of making a bold move – it risked the alienation of iTunes users when it force fed everyone a U2 album, so we do not doubt that it has automobile-themed intentions.

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