A new report from Bloomberg today offers new details about Apple’s ongoing work to build a self-driving electric car. According to the report, Apple has a “small team” working with Apple Car, but a release is probably at least five to seven years away. The Apple Car team has also added even more former Tesla executives, the report says.
The report explains:
The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has a small team of hardware engineers who develop drive systems, vehicle interiors and external body designs with the goal of eventually shipping a vehicle. This is a more ambitious goal than in previous years, as the project mostly focused on creating an underlying self-driving system. The company has also added several former Tesla Inc. executives to the project.
Work on the Apple Car project has been delayed this year due to the COVID-1
Engineers working on the project believe that a product could be released “in five to seven years if Apple continues the plans.” In the end, however, it is said that the car is “not near the production stage” and “timelines are subject to change.”
Apple Car and Tesla
Bloomberg also has details of some recent hires for the Apple Car team, including former Tesla executives. Jonathan Sive, a former vehicle engineer for Tesla, BMW and Waymo, serves as senior manager of the Apple Car team. And Apple hired former Tesla Vice President Stuart Bowers in late 2020.
The report says that all in all, Apple’s electric car team is “filled with dozens” of former Tesla hardware and software engineers. Apple has “several hundred” engineers currently working on the project.
Apple also recently hired Jonathan Sive, a vehicle engineer from BMW AG, Tesla and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, as senior manager of the car project. In 2019, Apple tapped Michael Schwekutsch, Tesla’s former vice president in charge of drive systems, and added a growing list of former Tesla employees who worked on the vehicle effort.
In late 2020, Apple also hired another former Tesla vice president, Stuart Bowers, according to a person familiar with the move. He led Tesla’s self-driving technology team until mid-2019 and was CEO of venture capital firm Greylock Partners until July, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In addition, Michael Schwekutsch joined Apple’s engineering team in 2019 after previously being Tesla’s VP of engineering. Apple has made it a habit to hire former Tesla employees for its self-driving car team. This has led Tesla CEO Elon Musk to refer to Apple as “the Tesla Cemetery.”
Musk also recently revealed that he appeared to be selling Tesla to Apple for a fraction of today’s value. Musk claims to have contacted Apple CEO Tim Cook directly, but Cook was not interested in having a meeting.
Finally, the report states that Apple has a small hardware team working on “vehicle dynamics, drivetrain, safety mechanics and battery technology.” The goal is to “imagine the car’s interior for a future where people drive passively instead of driving.” Apple’s chip team also works with processors to power the car’s self-driving system.
Today’s report from Bloomberg follows earlier reports from Reuters, which said that Apple Car could go into production by 2024. However, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that the Apple Car launch may be 2028 or later, depending on a number of factors.
FTC: We use auto affiliate links. More.
Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news: