Apple was also looking for a manufacturing partner after speaking with Hyundai, Magna, Kia, Toyota and Nissan.
The Apple Car project has had a turbulent history
It’s no secret that Apple lags behind Google, Aurora, Cruise, Tesla and many more when it comes to self-driving technology. He even recently lost the lead of Project Titan, aka the Apple Car Project – Doug Field – to Ford. But now there are signs that it is speeding up testing of its autonomous car software with the increase in the number of drivers it has for testing over the past month.
As of August, Apple’s autonomous driving program included 69 vehicles and 92 pilots, according to a filing with the California DMV. Now that number has risen to 114 registered drivers as of September 10, that is, last week. This number is still lower than the peak of 154 drivers reached in October 2020. There are signs that Apple is increasing its fleet after almost halving it in 2020.
Waymo and Cruise have the highest number of vehicles, each having 616 and 201 self-driving cars on the prowl in California. Apple only has 69 cars and has yet to apply for a driverless license. Documents filed by DMV also reveal that Apple vehicles have been involved in two crashes since last August, reaching a total of five in the year. It was reported that Apple’s range system disengaged at the time of the crash and the other vehicle was to blame for the two recent incidents.
Apple has developed an autonomous driving system over the past two years and this system will be applied to a chassis that will be powered by an electric powertrain with unique battery technology. Recently, after Field’s release, Apple raised Kevin Lynch, Apple Watch software boss and health manager, to head the Apple Car project. Lynch himself reports to Apple’s COO Jeff Williams and the overall project is under the leadership of Apple AI chief and senior vice president John Giannandrea.
Apple was also on the hunt for a manufacturing partner after talking to Hyundai, Magna, Kia, Toyota and Nissan over a contract manufacturer deal, something that has yet to be struck. Many believe that Apple could launch its car by 2025, but many Apple watchers believe that may not be true and that the project is not as advanced as many think. Either way, it will also be the last major product launch under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook, who has worked at Apple since 1998 and recently completed a decade atop the Silicon Valley giant.
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