In 2015, American tech giant Apple was reportedly working on its own self-driving vehicle. Now, NYTimes reports that Apple has partnered with German automaker Volkswagen to develop autonomous vehicles based on the T6 Transporter van.
The report states that Apple's self-driving car project is running behind schedule and it has also seen a reduction in the number of employees. Two years ago, there were around 1,000 employees working on this project, but now the count has come down due to various reasons.
With this partnership, Apple is likely to add its software in the vans and use the vehicles as employee-shuttles in the Cupertino campus. During the early stage, Apple was looking for providers of only chassis and wheels for the development of its new autonomous vehicle.
But in the later stage, the tech giant was looking for a fully built car so that the company would retrofit its sensors to use the custom software. Previously it was reported that Apple had bought two Lexus SUVs in 2015 and retrofitted its sensors.
In 2016, Apple secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California. The permit had also authorised Apple to a fleet of 55 SUVs. But Lexus was not the official partner of the project. So, Apple approached several companies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and McLaren. But Apple failed to crack a deal.
Now, Apple has partnered with Volkswagen after the dieselgate scandal and the German automaker is also lagging in the development of autonomous vehicles. Reports state that the lab near Turin, Italy run by Volkswagen's subsidiary Italdesign, will be used to convert T6 vans into electric self-driving vehicles.
Thoughts On Apple Joining Hands With Volkswagen
It has been quite some time since Apple announced its ambitious plan to develop its own self-driving car. But there were numerous hurdles for the American tech giant and the project was running behind schedule. It will be interesting to see how things pan out after the partnership with Volkswagen.