Apple Inc. is joining the self-driving car game.
According to Reuters, the iPhone maker is targeting 2024 as a potential goal date to enter the fray with a self-driving passenger vehicle, one which will potentially be powered by Apple’s proprietary battery technology.
Known as Project Titan, Apple’s automotive plans seem to temporarily derail in 2014, when the company divested resources in order to pivot to more lucrative software projects. But since then, Apple has apparently boned up operations to the extent that plans are now well underway to produce a mass market consumer vehicle — a project that competitors like Waymo, which has thus far focused exclusively on driverless rideshare, have historically shied away from.
The supply chain challenges inherent to producing its first-ever vehicle will mean that even Apple, an electronics company with global reach, will have its work cut out for it. Still, “If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple,” an unnamed Project Titan collaborator told Reuters. “But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone,” the source added.
The big selling point of the planned vehicle will likely be its battery, which is reportedly a unique “monocell” design of Apple’s own invention that would be capable of clearing out pouches and modules containing battery materials in order to create more space for active material inside the battery itself and give the car a longer range.
Sources who spoke to Reuters said that Apple is also investigating the technology for LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, as a potentially safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries that would also be less likely to overheat.
In manufacturing the potential future self-driving vehicles, sources say that Apple would most likely turn to third-party partners to help with assembly. The company was previously said to have initially entered into talks with Magna International Inc., but those plans have since fizzled, sources close to the project said.