A new report from Bloomberg today offers new details on Appleâ€™s ongoing efforts to build a self-driving electric car. According to the report, Apple has a â€œsmall teamâ€� working on Apple Car, but a release is likely at least five to seven years away.
The report explains:
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has a small team of hardware engineers developing drive systems, vehicle interiorÂ and external car body designs with the goal of eventually shipping a vehicle. Thatâ€™s a more ambitious goal than in previousÂ yearsÂ when the project mostly focused on creating anÂ underlying self-driving system. The company has also added more ex-Tesla Inc. executives to the project.
Work on the Apple Car project has been delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says. Currently, â€œthe majority of the team is currently either working from home or at the office for limited timeâ€� because of the pandemic. This has caused Appleâ€™s work on the project to slow down.
Engineers working on the project believe that a product could be released â€œin five to seven years if Apple goes ahead with its plans.â€� Ultimately, however, the car is said to be â€œnowhere near production stageâ€� and â€œtimelines could change.â€�
Bloomberg also has details on some recent hires for the Apple Car team, including former Tesla executives. Jonathan Sieve, formerly a vehicle engineer for Tesla, BMW, and Waymo, serves as a senior manager on the Apple Car team. Apple hired former Tesla vice president Stuart Bowers in late 2020.
The report says that all-in-all, Appleâ€™s electric car team is â€œfilled with dozensâ€� of ex-Tesla hardware and software engineerings. Apple has â€œseveral hundredâ€� engineers currently working on the project altogether.
Apple also recently hired Jonathan Sive, a vehicle engineer from BMW AG,Â Tesla and Alphabet Inc.â€™s Waymo, as a senior managerÂ on the car project. In 2019, Apple tapped Michael Schwekutsch, Teslaâ€™s former vice president in charge of drive systems, adding to a growingÂ list of former Tesla employees working on theÂ vehicle effort.Â
Late in 2020, Apple also hired another former Tesla vice president,Â Stuart Bowers, according to a person familiar with the move. He led Teslaâ€™s self-driving technology team until mid-2019 and was anÂ executive-in-residenceÂ at venture capital firm Greylock Partners until July, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Finally, the report says that Apple has a small hardware team working on vehicle dynamics, drive trains, safety mechanics and battery technology.â€� The goal is to â€œre-imagine a carâ€™s interior for a future in which people rideÂ passively rather than steer.â€� Appleâ€™s chip team is also working on processors to power the carâ€™s self-driving system.
Todayâ€™s report from Bloomberg follows earlier reporting from Reuters, who said Apple Car could enter production by 2024. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, however, has said that the Apple Car launch could be 2028 or later depending on a variety of factors.
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