Watch: Apple targets self-driving car by 2024
Apple will reportedly manufacture and sell its own electric car within four years, the result of a years-long and secretive effort to enter the market.
The tech giant is planning to produce a vehicle with “breakthrough battery technology” in 2024, Reuters reported.
Apple has spent years developing automotive technology, appearing to vary at times between planning to make its own vehicle and building driverless car software.
However, the company has made breakthroughs in battery technology that promise to dramatically decrease the cost of the batteries and improve a vehicle’s range, according to the report. Better batteries continue to be seen as the main obstacle to electric cars becoming mainstream, accounting for most of the higher cost of grid-powered vehicles.
Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook has warned of “massive change” in the car industry and confirmed that the company is working on autonomous systems. Little has been heard of the project in recent years, although Apple has continued to test driverless technology on public roads in California.
Its work in the area has also been demonstrated by the company continuing to file regular patents, such as for holographic windshield navigation, an advanced suspension system, and LiDAR sensor technology. However, a more efficient battery could be the vehicle’s key selling point, according to Reuters.
Apple would be likely to rely on a manufacturing partner for its cars, in the same way it has other companies assemble its iPhones. Unlike most of its products, Apple would have to reveal car plans well before the vehicle is made available to consumers, due to the number of regulatory hurdles vehicles must clear to arrive on the road.
Apple’s car team is led by Doug Field, the former head of Mac hardware who left the company to work for Tesla before rejoining in 2018. Recently, the project was put under the control of artificial intelligence boss John Giannandrea.
Few companies have been able to successfully break into the car market, although a wave of electric vehicle manufacturers led by Tesla are planning to change that. In 2019, Sir James Dyson scrapped plans to develop an electric car, saying the project was not commercially viable.
Apple already has a car dashboard system known as CarPlay and this year unveiled technology to let people unlock their cars with their iPhones.
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