Earlier this month Apple was granted permission to publicly test a self-driving vehicle on public roads in California, and now the company has reportedly issued a letter requesting changes to autonomous car test policies. Reuters first reported that Apple has formally proposed self-driving car testing policies through a company letter.
Rumors of Apple’s electric car initiative began back in early 2015 when a report claimed Apple had been considering the effort for quite some time. Steve Jobs himself admitted to considering building a car in 2008, but put the plans on hold to focus on development of the iPhone.
Over the past year and a half, however, it’s become more clear that Apple is indeed working on a car of some sorts under the “Project Titan” moniker. Tesla CEO Elon Musk even stated that it’s an “open secret” Apple is building an electric car. At one point it was rumored that Apple was interested in purchasing Tesla, but that report was never confirmed.
In addition to hiring employees from Tesla, Apple has also hired employees and executives from Fiat, Mercedes, Ford, and more. The head of Mercedes-Benz, however, doesn’t seem too worried about Apple’s car plans, likening the idea to a car manufacturer building a smartphone.
We detailed the start of Apple’s Project Titan team at the link below. The team is now said to consist of around 600 people.
Apple is believed to be operating Project Titan under a shell company called SixtyEight Research in Sunnyvale California. Apple has purchased a variety of real estate property in the area, much of which fits the bill for building a car.
Apple was initially reportedly aiming to release its own electric car by 2020, but a more recent report claims that the launch date has been pushed into 2021. The date could potentially have been affected by the departure of Steve Zadesky who was leading the project.
Not much is known about the design of the Apple Car, though a variety of renders have emerged, all of which are purely imaginative and based on nothing but speculation. The car is said to be electric, though its autonomous capabilities are unclear at this point.
As we inch closer to the reported 2021 release, we should expect for more details concerning the Apple Car to emerge.