design, self-driving technology and what we know so far

Apple has arguably changed our lives more than any other company in the world in the last two decades or so. But apart from its digital devices like iPhones, laptops, watches and operating systems, is there another direction it could go?

The somewhat cautious response to this has been transportation, in the form of electric self-driving vehicles.

Is Apple ready to challenge Tesla’s electric car market leader, and what progress has been made so far?

Here’s what we know:

What does Apple plan?

An Apple brand car has been up and running for a few years now, with sporadic reports of progress.

However, the Cupertino-based company has always remained tight-lipped about how far it has progressed and what exactly it intends to do then indicate that it is working on autonomous systems.

“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems … some groups are moving to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives throughout Apple,” the company said in 2019.

In 2021, CEO Tim Cook announced The New York Times that there was work on self-driving technology, but was reluctant to share specific details.

“As far as the work we do [in that field]of course, I’ll be a little careful about that, “Mr Cook said.

“Autonomy itself is a core technology … When you step back, the car is, in many ways, a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there are many things that you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does. “

Apple secretly began its automated and EV development – Project Titan – in 2014, and hired key drivers from Tesla to promote its autonomous and EV initiatives.

Reuters reported in December 2020 that Apple intended to have a car on the roads by 2024, while Bloomberg reported a prospective date of 2025 in November.

That goal, however, depended on the company’s ability to complete the self-driving system.

What will the car look like?

There has been no official word from Apple yet, so it’s a case of using your imagination to some extent.

What is known is that in 2017 Apple filed a patent with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a “VR system for cars that can implement methods that address problems with moving cars that can result in motion sickness” for passengers “.

The patent application said: “The VR system can provide virtual views that match visual cues with the physical movements a passenger experiences. The VR system can deliver immersive VR experiences by viewing the real world view replace with virtual environments.

Active vehicle systems and / or vehicle control systems may be integrated with the VR system to provide physical effects with the virtual experiences. . disease. “

So, if passengers in the car are immersed in VR, is there a need for windows?

Apple’s ideal car would have no steering wheel or pedals, and the interior would be designed for hands-off driving, Bloomberg reported in November.

This sounds a lot like the Tesla robotaxi, which is currently in development. Tesla chief Elon Musk has confirmed the lack of pedals and steering for the robot taxi, making it sound more like a train than a car.

“It’s going to be very optimized for autonomy – which means it’ll not have a steering wheel or pedals. There are a number of other innovations around it that I find quite exciting, but it’s fundamentally optimized for the lowest fully considered cost. to reach per mile or kilometer if everything counts, “Mr Musk said last month.

“I suppose [the robotaxi] will really be a huge driver of Tesla’s growth.

Bloomberg reported that one option Apple has discussed is an interior similar to that in Canoo’s Lifestyle Vehicle. In that car, passengers sit along the sides of the red and stand facing each other as if they were in a limousine.

Where are we with self-driving cars?

Apple has owned a fleet of 69 Lexus SUVs experimenting with its technology, according to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Although, as Tesla has figured out, safety is a major obstacle to overcome.

Tesla also says it expects “fully self-driving” beta testing software will be released to all U.S. customers who purchased the feature by the end of the year. About 100,000 owners are now testing the system on public roads, Mr Musk said. However, it will have to pass supervisors once they are deemed ready.

“Of every technology development I’ve ever been involved with, I’ve never really seen more false dawns where we seem to break through, but we do not, as I’ve seen in complete self-driving,” he said. To solve complete self-loathing, you actually need to solve artificial intelligence of the real world, which no one has solved.

“I think we’ll achieve that this year.”

More than 1,400 autonomous cars are rumored to be in use in the US.

It has not been without controversy. Last year, it was reported that a Tesla car in Houston, Texas, had driven itself into a tree, killing two people.

Updated: 20 May 2022, 13:12

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