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Apple planning to release self-driving electric vehicle by 2024, working on battery breakthrough

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
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May 30, 2004
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"
  • Apple plans to build a self-driving electric car by 2024, unnamed sources familiar with the project told Reuters.
  • A new battery design from the tech company could "radically" diminish the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle's range, one source said.
  • The project would most likely yield a consumer vehicle, the sources said, not a self-driving taxi.
Apple is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The iPhone maker's automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.

Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple's plans are not public.
Apple's goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc's Waymo, which has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service.

Central to Apple's strategy is a new battery design that could "radically" reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle's range, according to a third person who has seen Apple's battery design.

Apple declined to comment on its plans or future products.

Making a vehicle represents a supply chain challenge even for Apple, a company with deep pockets that makes hundreds of millions of electronics products each year with parts from around the world, but has never made a car. It took Elon Musk's Tesla 17 years before it finally turned a sustained 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," said a person who worked on Project Titan.

It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car, but sources have said they expect the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles. And there is still a chance Apple will decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system that would be integrated with a car made by a traditional automaker, rather than the iPhone maker selling an Apple-branded car, one of the people added.

Two people with knowledge of Apple's plans warned pandemic-related delays could push the start of production into 2025 or beyond.

Apple has decided to tap outside partners for elements of the system, including lidar sensors, which help self-driving cars get a three-dimensional view of the road, two people familiar with the company's plans said.

Apple's car might feature multiple lidar sensors for scanning different distances, another person said. Some sensors could be derived from Apple's internally developed lidar units, that person said. Apple's iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models released this year both feature lidar sensors.

Reuters had previously reported that Apple had held talks with potential lidar suppliers, but it was also examining building its own sensor.

As for the car's battery, Apple plans to use a unique "monocell" design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials, one of the people said.

Apple's design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.

"It's next level," the person said of Apple's battery technology. "Like the first time you saw the iPhone."

Apple had previously engaged Magna International Inc in talks about manufacturing a car, but the talks petered out as Apple's plans became unclear, a person familiar with those previous efforts said. Magna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

To turn a profit, automotive contract manufacturers often ask for volumes that could pose a challenge even to Apple, which would be a newcomer to the automotive market.

"In order to have a viable assembly plant, you need 100,000 vehicles annually, with more volume to come," the person said.
"
 

Jethalal

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Dec 19, 2020
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Do they make any other product even remotely similar to automobiles. I could see Samsung doing it as they make absolutely everything.
Second thing to wonder about is will people buy Apple cars for the show-off factor? Dropping 1K for a phone is very different than 30/40/50K(?) for a car when there are premium and established brands like Tesla in the same space.
 
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Dec 14, 2008
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I mean it goes against literally everything Apple is known for but OK. Personally I think anyone who takes this rumor seriously is smoking crack.
 

Jethalal

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I mean it goes against literally everything Apple is known for but OK. Personally I think anyone who takes this rumor seriously is smoking crack.
The timeline for launch might be a bit iffy but hiring of Doug Field as stated in the OP points to this. Apple rumors have been pretty accurate last few years, all airpod versions got leaked and all the iphone models got leaked too. Apple is not very strict about rumours it seems.
 
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Cravis

Gold Member
Aug 18, 2006
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So we are gonna get Siricab?

“We hope you enjoy the ride!”


 

Rival

Member
Dec 20, 2013
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There is definitely nothing wrong with a company with the size and money that Apple has investing in tech that improves battery capacity for EV’s. I’m sure their cars would cost as much as an Aston Martin though.
 

HF2014

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May 19, 2014
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Yeah, they are going to sell us a modern looking Lada car with a $159,999 price tag. 😂
 

teezzy

Fantastik Tuna
Mar 18, 2020
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They'd be better off teaming up with an already established automobile maker and adding their tech... but what do I know
 

VGEsoterica

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Oct 5, 2019
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It will probably as unrepairable as their computers and phones. Good idea in theory but wonder if it will go the John Deere locked down route
 
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billyxci

13 year old console warrior. Put me on ignore.
Aug 3, 2014
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i'm really interested in seeing what they do. they can't milk iphones + ipads forever so it's good to try something else. they got the money to do it and if anyone has a chance then it's Apple. i hope they try something new and don't make just another boring looking car. Tesla's are cool but they just blend in to every other car. when I think of an Apple car i think of something like a Rayfield from Cyberpunk:




perhaps not quite sports car like but it seems like they will do something to make it stand out. that's the whole idea of Apple products. it's a status symbol and you want people to know you have it. their products are meant to stand out. i doubt they'd get away with making a car with no windows as that would break a shit load of rules and regulations.
 

oagboghi2

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Apr 15, 2018
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Lines up with Musk's prediction of when we should start expecting some of these new ideas hitting the market.
 

AJUMP23

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Sep 29, 2020
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Apple proprietary charge port for your vehicle. The port will also cost twice as much as a standardized port. You will also have to buy an adaptor for long travel to use charge stations.
 

Super Mario

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What kind of accessories will be sold separately? Seats? Tires? Retina dashboard?
 
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MrA

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don't care about the care, but I'll take a battery break through any time.
 

Falcs

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May 5, 2011
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Good.
Sooner we have self driving cars the sooner we start getting morons off the road. Too many shit drivers out there. I'd rather be sharing the roads with robots than idiots with no reaction time.
 

MrA

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Mar 9, 2020
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I just wanted to see if anyone on GAF owned them. Hahahaha
I have a pippin, literally just a mac from the era with a stripped down os by default and no way to add a harddrive
Plays marathon, so that's something
up there with the memorex vis as the most pointless of consoles,
 
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Mobilemofo

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Apr 14, 2019
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Charger sold separately knowing apple 😅 wouldn't buy an apple phone yet alone a car from them.
 

MrA

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I don’t even know what that is, let alone owned them
a really crappy tablet/pda, but it was really early so that's something, and a team up with bandai to shove a 1995 mac in a console shelf and sell it,
 

ManofOne

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Nov 4, 2020
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Hi Mr Cook, two questions.

So I have to buy the charging cord separately ?

And does my radio come without headphones.?