It is no surprise that for over five years Apple has been constantly experimenting with autonomous driving technologies at the software level and especially in the development of self-driving systems in the field of software.
Some have speculated that Apple is aiming to launch its autonomous electric vehicle – and may not fall for it as the company prepares to produce a car by 2024, with innovative “next-tier” battery technology.
This is because the Reuters news agency reports that the target for the production of a passenger car by the technology giant is 2024 – although it could go until 2025 or later due to the delays associated with the pandemic.
The company’s efforts to enter the automotive industry began in 2014 when the company began building its vehicle from scratch. The project became known as “Project Titan”, but did not go as planned and in 2019 he fired 190 people from the team that worked on it.
Since then, however, enough water has entered the (technological) ditch.
According to two people very close to the team, the company aims to build a vehicle for the mass market. This contradicts the plans of its rivals, such as Alphabet Inc.’s “Waymo” project. concerning robotic taxis for passenger transport, offering a driverless transport service.
The New Battery, The Key Element
Central to Apple’s strategy is the redesign of autonomous vehicle batteries. He could “drastically reduce” their manufacturing costs and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a person who has seen the battery design.
In this regard, Apple plans to use a unique “monocle” design. This accumulates the individual cells of the battery and frees up space inside the battery, eliminating useless pockets and units.
Apple’s design means that more active material can fit inside the battery, giving the car a longer range of action. Apple is also considering technology for batteries called LFP or lithium iron phosphate, a material that is less likely to overheat and therefore safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
“It’s state-of-the-art technology,” an employee told Reuters anonymously about Apple’s new battery.
The “Pandemic” Factor
Building an autonomous electric vehicle represents a huge challenge for Apple, a company that produces hundreds of millions of electronics each year with components from around the world, but has never produced its car.
For example, for the sake of truth (of the difficulty of the task), it took Elon Musk’s Tesla 17 years before he finally managed to achieve a modest profit by producing cars.
“If there’s one company on the planet that has the financial resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. “But of course, [a car] is not just a cell phone,” said one person who worked on Project Titan.
It remains unclear who will assemble a car under the Apple brand, but sources said they expect the company to rely on a “stable partner” to build the vehicles. To make a profit, companies that build cars under agreements often ask for production volumes that could be a challenge even for Apple.
“To have a viable assembly unit, one needs to build 100,000 vehicles a year, with room for even more volume,” said a project expert.
However, two people with knowledge of Apple’s plans warned that the delays related to the ongoing pandemic could lead to the start of production in 2025 or even later.
Apple has previously been in discussions with Magna International Inc. about building a car. But the talks stalled as Apple’s plans “were vague,” said one person involved in the attempt.