Is an Apple car coming in 2019?

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Inc to introduce electric car in 2019.

The electric — but not initially self-driving — car has been given the go-ahead, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company is still working out whether it will make a self-driving car, an electric vehicle or a combination of the two, according to a person with knowledge of the product, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as Apple is known for its intense secretiveness.

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 project has been code-named Titan and its leaders have been given permission to triple the 600-person team, the WSJ said, citing people familiar with the matter. 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. 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.

For Apple, a “ship date” doesn’t mean that customers receive a new product; it can also mean the date that engineers sign off on the product’s main features. 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. Sources told Reuters in August that Apple was developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it was unclear if the iPhone maker was designing a vehicle that could drive itself. Since reports that Apple, the world’s most valuable company, was working on a car surfaced in February, the car and tech industries have closely watched any progress, because Apple could transform the car industry the same way it did the mobile phone industry. As electric and driverless vehicles approach, both traditional carmakers and computer manufacturers have both looked to gain a foothold in the new industry.

Apple has hired this year 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. 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.

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. At the Frankfurt International Motor Show this month, car makers were obsessed with what the non-vehicle companies such as Apple and Google might be developing. Detroit has come a long way since the financial crisis, and advanced sensor-based safety features are available on many models of cars from Ford and General Motors. 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. Analysts say Apple has the financial resources and ambition to design and build a high-end vehicle, although some believe it’s more likely interested in developing software for use in cars made by other companies. “We believe the auto industry represents a significant opportunity for Apple, but we also expect Apple to be deliberate as always in its product development and testing,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster in a Sept. 1 report.

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