Apple is alleged to be secretly building its autonomous car. However, the company has never officially confirmed its ambition of developing the autonomous vehicle. Apple’s work on developing driverless technology is publicly well known as the company signed partnership deals with various automakers for launching its autonomous vehicle technology.
Back in 2015, it was expected that the company started working on the autonomous car by hiring more than 1000 of engineers (including some of the world’s leading automotive engineers) and automotive experts. In October 2016, Apple started slashing numerous jobs indicating that the company shifted its focus from developing self-driving vehicle towards autonomous software. Later on, the company also started test drives of its autonomous technology using Lexus SUVs.
Commodity Inside expects that it is likely that Apple has not fully given up on building its own car. It started a partnership with the largest Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL), which designs hybrid and electric vehicle batteries, though Apple has not disclosed the partnership deal yet. CATL also announced to boost the battery output to 50 gigawatt hours by 2020.
Recently, Apple hired one of the senior engineers from Waymo, Jaime Waydo, who is an expert in autonomous technology. She worked as the head of systems engineer in Waymo. Prior to working at Waymo, she worked as a senior engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for more than a decade, where she helped in developing a rover vehicle for the Mars mission. The hiring of Jaime also indicates that Apple is likely to be working on designing an autonomous car.
We expect that Apple will initially test and commercialise its autonomous vehicle technology followed by launching its own vehicle . The autonomous technology will be of level 4 in which driver’s intervention is required. However, the aim of launching complete autonomous car of level 5 will not come online at least before 2025, as launching such driverless cars on the public roads is not free of danger, and requires considerable safety measures.
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