Apple is working on a car-related project but no one is clear about what is it exactly. People are eager to know whether Apple will launch self-driving cars in the market or not. If you are also curious to know about the upcoming invention of Apple, then stay with us. You will come to know Apple’s plan for the self-driving system. Moreover, we have gathered every possible detail we have found regarding this project.
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Some More Information about Apple iCar:
Apple has been carrying a number of projects behind the scenes and one of them involves cars. Like many tech companies, Apple too is trying to use technology for designing future cars. Numerous analysts think that Apple is interested in the technology behind self-driving cars. Whereas, one analyst thinks that Apple is about to build cars within the next few years.
In February 2015, there were murmurs that Apple would compete with Tesla. Back in November 2017, two Apple computer scientists proposed VoxelNet, a 3D detection system. According to them, this system would prevent collisions between autonomous cars, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Moreover, at the end of January 2019, Apple laid off 200 employees in Apple’s autonomous systems division. Thus, the CNBC report claimed that the iCar project of Apple might have been canned.
After a few months, in July 2019, it was evident that Apple and VW will launch driverless vehicles for corporate persons. Still, it remains unclear whether driverless vehicles are the extent of Apple’s autonomous vehicle ambition or not.
Still, we can assume that Apple has been developing something related to cars. Now, we have to find out whether the new invention will be an autonomous driving system, Apple Car or simply an in-car entertainment system.
When Apple iCar is Going to Enter the Market?
Until Tim Cook announces anything, we can’t specify the release date for Apple iCar. Even we don’t know whether Apple will ever release any car-related software or hardware in the market. Generally, automakers require five to seven years for developing a car. In 2015, WSJ reported that Apple has designated the iCar as a committed project. And, it was supposed to launch the iCar in 2019. Further reports claimed that Apple will finish the autonomous vehicle project in 2021.
Has Apple Cancelled the iCar Project?
You might have been disappointed to hear that Apple has laid off 200 staff working on the iCar project. This laid off is not new for Apple since we had witnessed it in 2006 before. But, Apple spokesperson and people associated with this department said that the autonomous systems team will be moved to projects in other countries. Perhaps they would be supporting machine learning and other activities in those countries.
Still, you shouldn’t leave the hope of having iCar in the market. Apple has continued its work in the field of autonomous vehicles. CNBC flashed the news that Apple believes to have huge opportunities in the autonomous systems. Even they have described the project as the most ambitious machine learning project that has ever taken place.
Announcements of the CEO of Apple
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple discussed autonomous driving with Bloomberg. Cook said that the autonomous system is the core technology for Apple. It is the most difficult AI project Apple has dealt with to date. Thus, they are highly focused on this mother project to bring a new era in the car industry.
Tim Cook neither declared or denied whether Apple is working on iCar or driverless technology. He not even mentioned whether existing car manufacturers will use their technology or not. So, there is no confirmation that Apple will utilize the self-driving technology in its cars.
However, Tim Cook specified the possibility of Apple cars during an interview in 2016. He stated that Apple doesn’t want to invest large amounts to explore this project. We have also talked with teams of people and explored that Apple has not started spending huge amounts on tools, processes, company acquisitions, and hiring experts. Thus, we can’t assure that Apple is committed to this iCar project.
In a meeting of Apple shareholders, Cook teased attendees about the future possibilities of Apple. The CEO neither confirmed and denied the existence of Apple’s electric cars when Apple’s Q4 2016 financial results were published. He also stated that Apple looks for different ways of improving the customers’ experience and cars form a part of it.
What are the Perceived Features of Apple Car?
At this stage, we can’t accurately pinpoint the features of Apple cars. But, Apple engineering contemplated the following features in the Business Insider report in September 2017:
- Automatic doors to open and close silently.
- It will be a fully automated car without any steering wheel or pedals inside.
- The interior of the car will be designed for entertainment purposes.
- The car will be equipped with spherical vehicles for driving sideways.
- The driving system will surely replace the clunky lidar system.
Evidence to Support the iCar Development of Apple:
We have listed some of the prominent evidence that Apple is working on Automated cars.
Apple Charged Employees for Stealing Trade Secrets
Apple engineer who was working on the autonomous car project of Apple stole the company’s documents to help a Chinese car startup. That’s why he was charged by the FBI for stealing trade secrets. Finally, Apple took serious actions against others associated with this crime.
Hiring Car Industry Veterans and Specialists
Over the past few years, Apple has hired veterans and specialists randomly. It proves Apple’s interest in the car industry. Moreover, it hired a senior designer from Tesla and several automobile experts as well.
Apple’s Self Driving Fleet
According to macReports, Apple records a test fleet of 62 self-driving vehicles and 87 drivers. It was further reported that Apple was gathering data for autonomous vehicle software.
Filing Patent for Climate Control in Vehicles
In April 2018, Apple filed a patent for installing climate controls in vehicles. Window assemblies and sunroof assemblies are some of the components of the climate control system.
Publishing Research on Self-driving Cars
A pair of computer scientists who work for Apple published their research in 2018. The research specifies the methods that can be used by automated cars to avoid collisions. Moreover, the publication had hints that Apple is going to launch automated vehicles soon.
Apple’s Letter to US Transport Regulators
Apple’s director of products sent a letter to the US Transport Regulators about self-driving car rules. Apple apparently specified the societal benefits of automated vehicles in the market. The letter makes an earnest request for not introducing many rules for testing self-driving cars.
Self-driving Car Permit in California
Apple received a permit for testing autonomous vehicles on public roads in California. Even 6 people were allowed to sit in the car during the test.
Purchase of Car Related Domain Names
Apple bought a number of car-related domain names in December 2015. Though Apple registered the domains in 2016, none of them are active today. We can’t conclude whether Apple bought the domains for personal use or other manufacturers.
Thus, we can’t draw any conclusions regarding the Apple iCar release date at present.