Apple And VW Partner For Self-Driving Employee Shuttle Vans

Apple and Volkswagen have announced that they have partnered to build autonomous vans for transporting Apple workers. The announcement of the agreement came Wednesday night and the plan is to take the VW T6 Transporter vans and turn them into autonomous shuttles. The vans will be fitted with Apple's own autonomous technology, something Apple was showing off last December.

vw van

Apple opted to make a deal with VW after attempts to work something out with Mercedes-Benz and BMW failed to materialize. Apple currently boasts the second largest autonomous vehicle fleet in California with 55 vehicles. The only autonomous fleet larger than Apple's is from automaker GM with 104 vehicles in its own fleet.

Apple originally had much larger hopes for its autonomous vehicle plans with alleged talk of its own branded vehicle. That changed over time with Apple focusing on software and other tech that could be licensed out to automakers. Apple's autonomous fleet currently uses Lexus RX450h SUVs, so the new tie-up with VW is at least in part because Lexus has no passenger vans large enough to transport a large number of employees at once.

Automakers and are having a hard time convincing the public to trust autonomous vehicles. That was made even more difficult with recent tragic accidents resulting in the death of a pedestrian when she was struck by an Uber self-driving car and a death of a driver in a Tesla vehicle that veered into a highway divider with Autopilot enabled.