(Reuters) – Apple Inc is advancing self-driving auto technology, targeting production of a passenger car in 2024, which could include the following According to Reuters, breakthrough battery technology is its own groundbreaking battery technology.
The efforts of the iPhone maker in the automotive space known as Project Titan have been uneven since 2014, when it first began designing its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple withdrew its efforts to focus on software and reviewed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.
Since then, Apple has advanced so far that it is now aiming to build a vehicle for consumers. Two people familiar with the effort have asked not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market is in contrast to competitors like Alphabet Inc’s Waymo. who built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless hail service.
At the heart of Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could « radically » lower the cost of batteries and increase the range of the vehicle, according to a third person who saw Apple’s battery design.
Making a vehicle poses a supply chain challenge even for Apple, a deep pocket company that makes hundreds of millions of electronic products with parts from around the world every year but has never made a car. It took 17 years for Elon Musk’s Tesla to finally become a sustainable, profitable car.
« If there’s one company on the planet with the resources to do it, it’s probably Apple. At the same time, it’s not a cell phone, ”said one person who worked on Project Titan.
It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car, but sources have expected the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles. And there’s still the possibility that Apple might decide to scale back the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system built into a traditional automaker’s car, rather than the iPhone maker selling an Apple-branded car, one of the people added.
Two people who are aware of Apple’s plans warned of delays related to pandemics and could push production start-up until 2025 or beyond.
Apple has decided to hire outside partners for elements of the system, including lidar sensors that give self-driving cars a three-dimensional view of the road, according to two people familiar with the company’s plans.
Apple’s car may have multiple lidar sensors for scanning at different distances, another person said. Some sensors could be derived from Apple’s in-house developed lidar units, this person said. Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models released this year both have lidar sensors.
Reuters previously reported that Apple was in talks with potential lidar suppliers, but was also considering building its own sensor.
For the car battery, Apple plans to use a unique « monocell » design that inflates the individual cells in the battery and makes room in the battery pack by removing bags and modules that contain battery materials, it said.
Apple’s design allows more active material to be packed into the battery, potentially giving the car a longer range. Apple is also exploring a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, which is inherently less likely to overheat and therefore safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
« It’s the next level, » said the person of Apple’s battery technology. “Like the first time you saw the iPhone. ”
Apple had previously engaged Magna International Inc in talks to make a car, but talks ended when Apple’s plans became unclear, said a person familiar with those earlier efforts. Magna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
To make a profit, automakers often ask for quantities that could be challenging even for Apple, which would be a newcomer to the automotive market.
« To have a functional assembly plant, you need 100 a year. 000 vehicles with more volume, « said the person.
Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; and Paul Lienert and Ben Klayman in Detroit; Adaptation by Jonathan Weber and Edward Tobin
All offers were delayed by at least 15 minutes. A full list of exchanges and delays can be found here.
Apple, Apple Electric Car Project, Self-Driving Car, Tesla, Inc. .
World news – USA – Exclusive: Apple targets automobile production by 2024 and relies on next-level battery technology
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