Self-Driving Apple Car Could Finally Roll Off The Lot In 2025 Sans Steering Wheel Or Pedals
Apple is aiming to produce self-driving cars by 2025 that could debut without a steering wheel or pedals. It seems the company has finally settled on creating an automobile that will not require any human intervention.
Apple has struggled over the last few years on which direction to take its venture into autonomous vehicles. On one hand there is the route that gives the occupant of the car some responsibility and options when it comes to steering, acceleration and braking. Then there is the less traveled road that takes all human intervention out of the process, quite literally, in creating a fully autonomous car. It seems Apple has settled on the latter.
"Project Titan" has seen its share of changes during its lifetime which began around 2014. This includes the change of leadership to Apple Watch software executive Kevin Lynch. Lynch indicated that the team is now focused on producing a first generation Apple vehicle with a full self-driving system. It will be a challenge, however, as competitors such as Tesla have struggled in moving beyond cars that still allow for human intervention.
While Apple is optimistic in its ability to release a fully self-driving vehicle by 2025, it does have the options of either delaying the launch or simply producing an automobile similar in nature to those already on the market. As of right now, however, Apple's intent is to engineer a vehicle that will operate without a steering wheel or pedals. This could prove to be an extremely difficult hurdle to overcome, as it will surely have to undergo a good bit of on the road testing.
One hurdle that Apple feels it has already overcome is the processor that will be used in its self-driving system. The same group that designed the processors for the iPhone, iPad and Mac are said to have designed the processor for Apple's car. This includes acuminating the software that runs on the chip itself.
With the progress of the chip that will power the self-driving system, Apple could begin road testing shortly. The company intends to retrofit existing cars that it has already spent years testing in California with its new self-driving system. Currently Apple has 69 Lexus SUVs that it experimenting with its technology, per California's Department of Motor Vehicles.
One of the other features likely to be included in Apple's automobile is a large iPad-like infotainment system. It would probably be located in the middle of the vehicle allowing passengers are an easier to reach throughout the vehicle. And while Apple has said it hopes to not have a steering wheel, it has indicated that it wants to provide an emergency takeover mode. It is not certain how that might operate, but controls similar to those found in a video game come to mind.
When it comes to powering the self-driving vehicle, Apple is also looking to make it an all electric charging system, according to some sources. This may be OK for those where EV charging stations are aplenty, but could prove a bit troublesome for those who are located in areas where they are not so plentiful. But as electric vehicles continue to become more common (and hopefully less expensive), EV charging stations will become more prevalent as well.
While Apple has a tough road ahead in reaching its projected production date of 2025, it is a good sign that they are taking the project more seriously. There will no doubt be more news coming out surrounding the vehicle as Apple begins road testing and moving closer to making the Apple self-driving automobile a reality.