Electric cars are on the rise, but the next big thing to hit the street may be automation.
As predicted, car makers, like Tesla Motors Inc., have been building prototypes for self-driving cars. According to the Wall Street Journal, though, other less expected companies are looking into the automated car market. One such company is Apple.
Cars are not the first thing one thinks of when the technology giant Apple is mentioned. Phones, computers, tablets, and even watches come to mind first.
Software comes to mind as well, and it would be easy to consider the idea that Apple might have a project involving the creation of software for other cars.
“It’s a software game. It’s all about autonomous driving,” an anonymous source told Reuters.
In fact, Apple has spent some time and resources working with automakers in order to create the CarPlay service. CarPlay will allow drivers to access Apple services (such as iTunes), maps, and Siri through the dashboard information system in their car.
That’s not where Apple seems to be stopping though. Rumors indicate that Apple is not just working on software. Instead, they’re trying to explore the possibilities of making an entire automated vehicle.
“They don’t appear to want a lot of help from carmakers,” said the anonymous source.
Although Apple is doing much to make sure they don’t wind up in any agreements with car makers, they have been looking for advice on parts and production methods involved in developing cars.
It is somewhat similar to how Apple went about creating its upcoming Apple Watch. They held meetings with Swiss watchmakers and even poached talent from top watch brands, but they made sure to stand alone while developing the item.
It’s said that there are several hundred Apple employees working on the automated Apple car. The top secret facility is in Cupertino, California, and the project held within has been code-named “Titan.” According to the WSJ, the initial design for the car resembles a minivan.
It’s possible that all the hype is for nothing. Apple has worked on many different projects in the past that they’ve decided not to release to the public for one reason or another. Furthermore, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas do not believe automated cars will be released to the public until 2025 or 2030 due to the regulatory hurdles.
Apple spokespeople have decided not to comment on the rumors.
[Image courtesy of Axeetech]