Apple Inc., popularly known for its computers and the iPhone line of smartphones, is forging ahead with its self-driving technology with an eye towards production as early as 2024.
Apple will be pushing through with its self-driving car project similar to the Waymo (pictured)
In a report by Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter, the American tech company is focusing on building a vehicle for consumers, taking a different tack from its rivals who are concentrating on robo-taxis for a driverless ride-hailing service.
Key to the Apple Car undertaking, known internally as Project Titan, is a ‘next-level’ battery design that reportedly could reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range. A unique monocell setup will likely be used, allowing for bigger individual cells in the battery pack and freeing up space by eliminating pouches and modules.
The car could use LIDAR sensors similar to those found on the iPhone 12 Pro
With more active material packed into the battery, the car will have a potentially longer range. Another route for Apple will be exploring lithium-ion phosphate battery technology, which is less likely to overheat and inherently safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries. The car might also feature multiple LIDAR sensors to scan various distances, similar to those used by iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models released this year.
Apple first came up with designs for a self-driving car as early as 2014, but the momentum has not been consistent throughout, stepping back at one point to focus on software and reassess its goals. Some 190 personnel from the project were even laid off in 2019.
Since then, Apple has now progressed far enough to seriously revisit the project, according to two people familiar with the effort who have requested anonymity since the company’s plans have not been made public yet.
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At the very least, Apple is expected to work on an autonomous driving system
While the company is expected to find a manufacturing partner to build the vehicle, there is still the likelihood that the project could be reverted to an autonomous driving system instead of an actual car.
As of this writing, Apple has declined to comment on the present and future product plans.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo