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Apple focuses electric car project on self-driving, aims for 2025 launch

Apple is in discussions with several carmakers for manufacturing the cars

November 19, 2021 1:20pm

Updated: November 19, 2021 1:20pm

Apple has set an ambitious four-year target for the launch of a hands-free electric car. 

“Apple’s ideal car would have no steering wheel and pedals, and its interior would be designed around hands-off driving,” according to a report by Bloomberg on Thursday. The interior would be like a limousine’s, where passengers would sit along the sides of the vehicle facing each other. 

The company has no prior experience with making vehicles. The electric car effort, known within the company as the Special Projects Group, or “Project Titan,” has seen executive turnover and other setbacks. 

This new direction was set by Kevin Lynch, former executive in the Apple Watch software division. Lynch was recruited internally after Project Titan’s former head left for Ford in September. 

The commitment to autonomous driving was chosen over the focus on acceleration and steering most current electric cars take to compete with traditional cars that run on gasoline. Other players in the space, such as Tesla, Google parent company Alphabet, and Uber have continued to face setbacks in self-driving. 

Apple’s confidence comes from progress on the car’s self-driving system. According to reports, it has almost finished designing the processor that will ship with the first generation of the car. 

The chip comes from Apple’s silicon engineering unit, which has been responsible for the in-house processors that have shipped with recent models of the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. The car processor was designed specifically to handle the artificial intelligence required for autonomous driving. 

However, Apple will still need manufacturing partners to build the car itself. It is in discussions with multiple carmakers, and is even considering production in the U.S.