Rumors of Apple’s automotive project are spiralling out of control, ever since a photo of a minivan registered to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino was spotted on the streets.
In a new report, Apple might be implementing an autonomous component to its car, offering a hands-free feature alongside regular driving. This would be similar to Google or Tesla’s self-driving car project.
It is not clear how far the self-driving functionality goes, whether Apple will implement full route self-driving or offer a ‘pilot-mode’ for driving on freeways. Audi and Tesla have both shown off a pilot-mode capable of turning lanes, adjusting speeds and self braking.
The autonomous vehicle would put Apple in direct competition with Google, who should be supplying General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford and other car companies with its self-driving platform in 2020.
Apple might roll out a pilot-mode for the first implementation of its car, but look forward to full self-driving after 2020, when most automotive regulation offices believe self-driving cars will be allowed on the road.
Apple has been scooping up talent from Ford, Tesla and General Motors over the past five years, to work in various areas of the company. These could all be part of the secret car project, expected to launch in 2017.
Recently Jony Ive spoke on the issues several car manufacturers come to when designing a car, singling out the Toyota Echo as an oddly designed vehicle. Ive did claim some British car makers were spot on however, his own Bentley for example was worth the excessive amounts of money.
Other Apple executives are keeping quiet on the subject of anything car related, CEO Tim Cook has not given any hints towards making a car in recent interviews and profile pieces.
Apple might also be looking into a possible acquisition of Tesla Motors, if reports are true.