Technology giant Apple is reportedly having new and increased aspirations that span beyond mobile devices and personal computers – the incipient self-driving car segment.
The Cupertino, California-based maker of phones, computers and, soon, watches has stirred up the auto industry this weekend after the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the company has a secret lab focused on the research and development of an Apple-branded electric car, claiming the info to come from people that have knowledge of the strategy. The Financial Times also reported on the matter, saying the lab – which is very much akin to Google’s own autonomous project – was set up late last year, just after Apple officially unveiled its upcoming smart watch and latest batch of iPhones. Now, Reuters also discussed with an unnamed senior auto industry source that has been made aware of Apple-carmakers discussions. “They don’t appear to want a lot of help from carmakers,” said the source, as the Cupertino giant discussed its project with experts at automakers and automotive suppliers.
One fact seems clear from the reports coming in so far, including from Reuter’s source – the mobile and computer developer is mulling the complete development of a vehicle, and is not interested in coming up with software or components. The person added that Apple is mainly focused on gathering advice on parts and production, with an accent on electrification and connected-car technologies – with the automated driving cited as a possible direction as well. “Fully automated driving is an evolution. Carmakers will slowly build the market,” commented the source. “Apple is interested in all the potential ways you can evolve the car; that includes autonomous driving.” So far, it remains to be seen if it will initially introduce an electric car or skip all steps and jump into the autonomous vehicle bandwagon.