Last month, Apple laid off almost 190 employees working in its ‘self-driving’ car project called Titan. Earlier in January, they restructured 200 people working on the same project. It led to the speculation that the self-driving car from the tech giant will never see the light of day. However, the recent hiring of former Tesla engineer Dr. Michael Schwekutsch gives new hope to the fans who were eagerly waiting for a self-driving ‘iCar’ from Apple.
Schwekutsch has a fantastic portfolio of working on several famous cars like the hybrid BMW i8, Porsche 918 Spyder and the fully electric Fiat 500eV. Both the BMW i8 and the Porsche 918 Spyder are critically acclaimed hybrid-hyper sports vehicles powered by an electrical and internal combustion engine alike.
This won’t be the only hiring from Tesla as many other executives from Tesla’s engineering division are also likely to be hired. All of the new hires will work under Doug Field — former Vice President of Mac.
However, Apple’s upcoming car is expected to be fully electric because the entire automotive industry from Audi to Ford is already ditching hybrid for fully electric vehicles. The self-driving vehicle from Apple will likely be a family-sized van with huge space and luggage-carrying capacity.
Currently, Apple could be working on either a single model or a platform for several slightly different car models. One thing is sure that any of these cars are not going to see the light of day until 2023. On the other hand, Apple’s main competitor Google has already been testing its concept self-driving car named Waymo since 2010; it’s now even on the roads.
As mentioned above, car manufacturers like Audi and Ford are also investing heavily in self-driving electric cars. Volkswagen recently supplied Ford with 1.7 billion dollars to help in its self-driving car development. Audi will be done launching its complete range of electric vehicles dubbed as ‘e-Tron’ in 2025. These cars will focus on long-range drivability and self-driving option.
Meanwhile, Tesla has always been in favor of self-driving cars; the company recently unveiled the much-awaited Model Y. It is a fully electric SUV with a 300-mile range and Auto-Pilot capabilities. The base price of the Model Y starts from $39,000. The new Tesla factory in Shanghai, China will also help the company in reducing costs and developing more competitive electric vehicles for the masses.
Will self-driving cars from Apple remain as exclusive as iPhones? Or will the tech giant make something for the Average Joe? The answer is yet to be revealed.