According to sources privy to the information, Apple Inc. is seeking to accelerate the development of its electric car and is centering the project around complete self-driving capabilities, aiming to tackle a technical challenge that has bedeviled the auto industry.
Bloomberg recently published a report on the tech giant’s new venture and revealed that Apple’s auto team had been experimenting with two pathways for several years: building a model with limited self-driving skills centered on steering and acceleration — comparable to many current cars — or creating a version with full self-driving capability that doesn’t require human intervention.
Engineers are now focusing on the second option under the direction of the project’s new head, Apple Watch software executive Kevin Lynch. According to the people, Lynch is pushing for a car with a full self-driving system in the first version. They asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
It’s just the latest move for the Special Projects Group, or “Project Titan,” which has gone through several strategic shifts and managerial churn since its inception in 2014. Doug Field, the team’s former leader, resigned from a job at Ford Motor Company in September after three years in command. Apple chose Lynch as his replacement over an internal executive who isn’t an automotive expert.
Apple is aiming for a four-year debut of its self-driving car, less than the five- to seven-year schedule that some engineers predicted early this year. However, the timeline is uncertain, and the company’s ability to meet the 2025 deadline is contingent on the company’s ability to build the self-driving system, which is an ambitious undertaking on that timeline. If Apple fails to meet its objective, it may postpone the launch or offer a car with less technology at first.
Apple’s move into the electric vehicle market might pit the business against Tesla, as well as newcomers like Rivian and Lucid Motors, as well as traditional manufacturers moving away from fossil fuels. In recent months, electric vehicle stocks have risen as more consumers and investors gamble on what they hope will be the next Tesla.