Apple Inc, the American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, known globally for its trailblazing and state-of-the-art designs, and sale of computer software and consumer electronics is at it again with a groundbreaking innovation. While Apple Inc has never been known to be an automobile production company, in a first of its kind step by Apple, information gathered according to Reuters reveal that it will now be delving into self-driving technology. The production projection is aimed at 2024 to create a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology. However, with the Pandemic biting harder, especially with the new discovery of the mutated strain of Coronavirus, production may be pushed to 2025 if not more. Everything is contingent on the turn of event.
The latest Apple invention known as Project Titan, commenced in 2014. Then, it began steps to design the proposed vehicle from scratch. There was a break in between the development process as Apple redirected its concentration to software and spent some time to review its goals. By 2018, an Apple veteran, Doug Field came back to handle the project in 2018. In his process of reviewing plans and strategies going forward with the development of the automobile, he did a massive staff weeding; 190 people were laid off from the team in 2019.
After this step which many considered as drastic, phenomenal progress was made with the project. From all indications, Apple’s model and goal of building a personal vehicle for the automobile market contrasts with its rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo. Alphabet Inc is known for building Robo-taxis to convey passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service.
One of key strategies and innovative concepts employed by Apple which glaringly stands it out is the creation of a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range.
Apple is however very coded on its plans. Perhaps its not time for a lot of media noise but rather time to bury themselves in the creation of the innovative automobile technology as they channel the best way forward.
One of the biggest challenges might be how to master the unfamiliar terrain of automobile production, a terrain that has never been an area of strength for the technology giant. Yes, Apple does have the technology but certainly it’s clear that cars are way different from cellphones, which is one area where they have core dominance. A perfect example of this is the South African born American Billionaire and owner of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s automobile business. His ‘Telsa’ a global manufacturer of electric cars, spent a whole 17 years before it could successfully sustain profit from making of cars.
So many questions have surfaced about the iPhone producer’s technologically advanced car. For instance, who would assemble the car? Are they partnering with a known automobile manufacturer to pull this off? Will Apple decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system that would be integrated with a car made by traditional automaker, rather than the Apple brand selling an Apple-branded car?
Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have given further insight into the plan of the iPhone Giant. Apple will be taking advantage of lidar sensors, which help self-driving cars get a three-dimensional view of the road. This will be a key feature of the car.
Further to this, it might feature multiple lidar sensors for scanning different distances. This should not be a hard feat to perfect as Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro-models, both released this year, have this unique feature.
The initial presumption based on a report by Reuters was that Apple might utilize lidar suppliers to achieve this feature, apparently it is also contemplating creating its own unique senor.
Many have also wondered what Apple has up its sleeves with respect to the car battery. Information gathered from sources reveal that the iPhone giant intends to use an exceptional “Monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and allows for space inside the battery pack. This it does by eliminating pouches and modules that retain battery materials. This would invariably give the car a potentially longer range.
Apple is also exploring a chemistry for the battery called LFP (lithium iron phosphate). What this new technology means is that the battery is less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
Apple’s battery technology will certainly be its next level!
While it cannot be disputed that Apple is a newcomer in the automotive market, however, considering the fact that the brand leads the way in technological innovation, the Apple automobile is certainly another technological wonder to look forward to.
Photo Credit: Oman Observer