Apple’s long-rumored but not officially announced electric vehicle has hit a number of bumps and detours during the course of its development, but now a new report is claiming that Apple has solidified the Apple Car’s roadmap, which will result in a fully autonomous self-driving electric vehicle by 2025.
Sources “familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg that the team in charge of developing the Apple Car was previously stuck choosing between two different developments paths: a more traditional EV with some enhanced driver-assist features similar to what you get from a number of existing vehicles, or a more sophisticated EV capable of a true autonomous driving with no input from its passengers.
Now, based on Bloomberg’s report, it seems Project Titan (Apple’s codename for the Apple Car) and new project leader Kevin Lynch have decided to go the latter route, with Apple looking to create a fully autonomous vehicle with no pedals or steering.
Of course, deciding to make a true self-driving car is easier said than done, as no automaker has yet to release a proper Level 5 autonomous vehicle, defined as a car that can pilot itself without any human intervention under any conditions or driving situations.
Previous reports indicated that Apple’s EV efforts involved potentially contracting Hyundai to provide an EV platform that Apple could build its tech on top of, though talks of a deal eventually fell apart after Hyundai execs allegedly wanted to avoid being relegated to component vendor.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is exploring using a more futuristic car design with more open-concept seating similar to what EV startup Canoo has showcased in its vehicles, along with large “iPad-like” displays for hosting the car’s infotainment. Not including a steering wheel is apparently still up for discussion, with Apple also considering equipping the car with some sort of emergency takeover mode.
It sounds like the company has yet to settle on a business model for its car. Bloomberg reports that Apple is considering creating a self-driving fleet that would operate more like Uber or Lyft instead of selling individual cars, though that approach seems somewhat unlikely.
Bloomberg also reports that Apple recently reached a significant milestone for the Apple Car’s autonomous driving system, completing much of the design for a new processor designed to monitor and control Project Titan and installing updated self-driving sensors on its current fleet of test vehicles.
But even with major advancements, Apple will still need to catch up to competitors like Tesla and Waymo, who have been testing various autonomous driving methods on public roads for years. Apple’s fleet of test vehicles currently stands at just 69 retrofitted Lexus SUVs. Putting aside the challenge of developing its own self-driving system, Apple will still need to rely on other partners to provide a base for its EV, because the company reportedly doesn’t have any manufacturing facilities capable of producing an entire car.
Apple is reportedly targeting a launch sometime in 2025, but that timeline has been described as being “very aggressive,” so don’t be surprised if the long-rumored Apple Car’s debut slips into 2026 or later.