Apple Inc 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.
Apple has been working on the Project Titan secret car effort since 2014 but 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.
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.
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.
While many sources have claimed the Apple Car will be released between 2023 and 2025, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the report cites an unnamed director at a major Taiwanese manufacturer who said Apple is targeting a September 2021 launch.
While anything is possible, the earlier timeframe is questionable, especially due to the impact of the pandemic. Earlier this month, a DigiTimes report claimed that Apple was in “preliminary” negotiations with automotive electronics suppliers, suggesting that its vehicle project still remains in the fairly early stages. The report added that Apple’s chipmaking partner TSMC is reportedly working with Apple on a “self-driving chip.”