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If you haven’t heard, the once-dead Apple car project is back online as the tech giant looks to become involved in the auto industry in a big way. Not content with just Apple CarPlay, the Cupertino company is moving forward with making its own all-electric car. The jokes about an iPhone on wheels are also starting to pour out of the woodwork. All kidding aside, it looks like Apple is dead set on seeing this come to market, finally.
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Back in 2014, Project Titan was one of the worst-kept secrets in the tech and auto industries. Apple was going to rival Tesla and challenge legacy automakers by putting its unique spin on how people get around. However, designing and building a car from scratch is harder than most people not in the auto industry understand. Eventually, Apple was in over its head as in-fighting in Cupertino doomed the project.
With Project Titan back online, Apple is looking not only to launch an all-electric car but one that’s autonomous. Just think of all the times Siri misunderstood what you were asking or that Apple Maps provided the wrong information and you’ll get a warm fuzzy feeling about your ability to get around depending on such technologies.
Reportedly, Apple’s AI and machine learning chief, John Giannandrea, is helming Project Titan. Kevin Lynch, the guy who led development of the Apple Watch, is also onboard. In other words, Apple is putting some of its top talent on the upcoming car. We just hope it isn’t called the iCar or something lame like that.
As for the design, expect it to be very Apple. Clean lines, highly-breakable glass, steel bezels, and a battery which loses capacity quickly should be hallmarks. Maybe the car will just read your face and unlock the doors, which surely won’t have any unintended consequences.
This time around, Apple isn’t trying to build a car by itself from the ground-up. Instead of doing a hostile takeover of Tesla, a strategy which has been going through the rumor mill for years, it looks like Apple is instead working with Hyundai. Project Titan is reportedly using the platform from the Hyundai E-GMP all-electric car platform.
In a twist, talks with Hyundai ended by February of this year, so that avenue might be on the rocks. Before, Apple was working with BMW and Daimler on an alliance, but that fell apart reportedly over a dispute of who would call the shots. Now, Nissan supposedly has approached the tech giant about a partnership, but it’s unclear if it got permission from Renault to do such a thing. If this bears fruit, the Apple Car could be manufactured in Japan, but North America is a strong possibility as well.
The plan reportedly is to launch the new Apple car 3 to 6 years from now. Of course, it could take longer, especially considering a fully-autonomous car doesn’t actually exist and might remain a thing of science fiction.
In related news, two former Apple designers, Jony Ive and Marc Newson, are working with Ferrari thought their design firm LoveFrom. It’s not entirely clear what the design firm will be doing with Ferrari, although it’s doubtful the Maranello team will just hand off vehicle design. More likely they will be working with onboard technologies and perhaps the controls, hopefully so they’re not super frustrating to use while you’re just trying to enjoy a nice drive.
If you aren’t aware, Ive is a legend since he’s considered the designer of the first-gen iPhone. Some journalists are quick to point out both Ive and Newson own Ferraris, so whatever they do will totally be ok. You should also know Newson races classic Ferraris pretty often, so make of that whatever you want.
Photos credit: Apple