Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped some hints in an interview released Monday about the direction of the long-awaited Apple car, including that autonomous vehicle technology is likely to be an important feature.
“Autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view,” Cook told Kara Swisher in an interview on the podcast “Sway.” “If you sort of go back, the car is in many ways a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And then there are many things you can do with autonomy. And we̵
Cook was careful not to reveal too much, and refused to answer Swisher’s question directly if Apple plans to produce a car itself or the technology in the car. The clues he dropped suggest that Project Titan is working on something in the middle.
“We love integrating hardware, software and services, and finding the intersections of these because we believe that’s where the magic comes from,” Cook said. “And we love owning the primary technology around it.”
To which Swisher replied: “I’m going to go by car for that, if you do not mind. I’m just going to hop in the car. ”
So are we.
Many in the micromobile industry like to say that e-scooters are basically iPhones on wheels, but it is more likely that the Apple car will actual be iPhone on wheels. Apple is generally known for owning all the hardware and software, so it would not be surprising to see Apple engineers working closely with a manufacturer to produce an Apple car, with the potential to one day cut out the middleman and become a manufacturer. .
The so-called Project Titan seemed to risk failure before a car was ever seen by the public with mass performances in 2019. Recent reports, however, indicate that the project is alive and well with plans to make a self-driving electric car by 2024.
Earlier this year, CNBC reported that Apple was close to completing an agreement with Hyundai-Kia to build an Apple-branded self-driving car at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. Sources familiar with Apple’s interest in Hyundai say the company wants to partner with a carmaker that allows Apple to control the software and hardware that goes into the car.
The two companies never reached an agreement, and the talks fell apart in February, according to several reports. It has not stopped the flow of rumors and reports about Apple and its plans, which have previously been linked to other suppliers, car manufacturers such as Nissan and even startups.
It is still unclear what the Apple car will look like, but as a passenger car, instead of a robot taxi or delivery car, it will go up against such as Tesla.
“I have never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he has built,” Cook said. “I think Tesla has done an incredible job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for so long in the EV room. So I really appreciate them. ”
Project Titan is led by Doug Field, who was previously senior vice president of engineering at Tesla and one of the key players behind the launch of the Model 3.