Apple is known to have been working on a car project, codenamed ‘Titan’, which is expected to give competition to Tesla. Apple is currently working on an iCar, an electric vehicle, which is undergoing research and development process and for which a number of Apple employees are engaged. Apple has also hired engineers from BlackBerry to work on the autonomous car OS project in Canada. The reports suggest that the iCar would look similar to a minivan and the production of the car will soon begin in 2020. The company has also invested around 10 billion dollars on research and development.
Recently, Steve Kenner, director of production integrity, Apple Inc. wrote a letter to the US transport regulators about the autonomous car and its rules. In the letter, he stated that there should not be many rules and regulation of the self-driving vehicles and new entrants should be treated equally like other established manufacturers. Steve Kenner also said that in order to have a more comprehensive and to improve the systems, companies should share data from crashes and near-misses instead of one company sharing the data. He said, “address privacy challenges associated with the collection, use, and sharing of automated vehicle data”.
The Financial Times also reported that Apple is planning to buy McLaren in order to improve its iCar project as McLaren’s Applied Technologies Group supplies electronics from Formula One to NASCAR and therefore, it would be ideal for Apple’s self-driving electric car project. In August 2016, Apple also signed an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with a South Korean battery manufacturer for cylindrical lithium-ion batteries. These lithium-ion batteries are expected to be used on the new Apple’s driverless car.
As of now the Apple iCar is under development and is said to be first showcased in 2019 and will go on sale in 2020-21. The Apple iCar’s future competitors will not be other car manufacturers, but companies like Google. The reports by MacRumours, also suggests that Apple has already started buying a number of domains, especially for its electric car including apple.car, apple.cars and apple.auto. However, it is still unclear whether the company bought domain names for its iCar or Apple’s in-car system, CarPlay. With the available details, it’s clear that Apple’s debut in the mobility domain is going to be disruptive and will change the way mobility is approached. Together with Tesla, Apple will force conventional carmakers to rethink their business model as customers will have access to shorter product lifecycles and customisable interiors.
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