Apple renews interest in vehicle project, shifts focus to self-driving capabilities

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The big picture: Apple’s on again, off again electric vehicle project is reportedly back on again, and has shifted into high gear with a tentative launch window roughly four years from now. The company certainly has the money to fund the project, but have they developed advanced enough tech to make it a reality yet?

Sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg (paywalled, via MacRumors) that Apple has renewed interest in the project and has shifted its focus to self-driving capabilities.

Apple has been interested in getting into the automotive industry since at least 2014 when CEO Tim Cook reportedly approved Titan, a top secret project to develop… well, we aren’t sure. Rumors over the years have been all over the place and have included everything from a full electric Apple-made car, a self-driving vehicle, partnerships with existing automakers including BMW and Hyundai and nearly everything between.

There were even rumblings that Apple had abandoned the project and would instead focus on making autonomous driving software for other automakers, but now it seems Apple has renewed interest in making its own vehicle after moving VP of technology Kevin Lynch over to the project this past summer.

Bloomberg notes that Apple has hit a “milestone” in the development of its self-driving car system, describing the chip it has created as the most advanced component yet to come out of Apple. It is primarily comprised of neural processors that handle AI-based tasks needed for autonomous driving. The chip could run hot, however, which would force Apple to devise a sophisticated cooling system to keep it from overheating.

The publication also believes that Apple will still need to partner with an established automaker on the project, especially if it hopes to meet its self-imposed deadline of about four years from now.

Images courtesy Vanarama

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