APPLE intends to bring a self-driving passenger vehicle by 2024, complete with its own breakthrough battery technology.
Sources in the know of the phone giant’s plans told Reuters that the car, known as Project Titan, will finally see a completion date of 2024.
Project Titan, which has seen an ill-fated start since it was first launched in 2014, has gone through a number of iterations as Apple looked to what the future of driver-less passenger cars could look like.
Apple attempted to design its own vehicle when the project first launch, before scrapping that idea to focus on software and battery building instead.
In 2018, when a long-time Apple veteran Doug Field, who briefly worked at Tesla, returned to the project, he laid off 190 people from the project team the following year.
Apple has since taken steps to build a vehicle for consumers, sources told Reuters. Although the plans have not been public just yet, the sources say the tech giant has been wanting to build a personal vehicle to rival other companies.
Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, for example, has built robo-taxis to carry passengers in a driverless ride-hailing service.
Part of Apple’s launch is a new battery that has been said to “radically” reduce the cost of producing such batteries and increase the vehicle’s range.
Vehicle production creates a supply chain challenge for Apple, despite the hundreds of millions of electronics it makes annually with parts from all over the world.
It took Elon Musk’s Tesla 17 years to turn around a sustainable profit making cars.
“If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone,” a source told Reuters.
However, some say the pandemic has created significant delays for Apple, which could push the production of such a driverless vehicle into 2025 or even after.
With questions arising of how Apple plans to produce the cars, sources say the company will rely on a manufacturing partner to build the vehicles.
Apple might even go as far as creating an autonomous driving system that might already work in a car made by a traditional automaker, as opposed to creating an Apple-branded car when it initially launches.
Apple’s shares Monday came in at over 1.24 percent higher after the news was released.
Apple has also been working with external partners to build parts of their driverless system, including the use of lidar sensors, which allows driverless cars to gain a 3D view of the road ahead of it.
Sources told Reuters this isn’t new – both Apply’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro have lidar sensors.
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The “radical” battery sources have been touting refer to Apple’s plan to create a unique “mmonocell” design that will draw power from individual cells in the battery and free up space in the battery pack. It would also eliminate pouches and modules used to hold battery materials.
The design would mean more active material can be packed into the battery, giving the car a longer range. The company also plans on looking at creating a LFP battery, or a lithium iron phosphate battery that is less likely to overheat and is safer than other lithium-ion batteries.
“It’s next level,” the source said of the battery. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone.”