Apple’s First EV Will Be Fully Autonomous, Insiders Claim

The ongoing “Apple Car” saga took another turn on Wednesday when a new report claimed that the expected electric vehicle (EV) will be fully autonomous and designed to operate without a driver.

“These will be autonomous electric vehicles designed to run without a driver and focused on the last mile,” an unnamed source, knowing Apple’s plans, told CNBC.

As the news agency notes, it means the tech giant’s first vehicle can be used for the delivery of meals and other items, as well as robotaxi services similar to those tested by autonomous vehicle specialist Waymo. In other words, don’t think you’ll be rolling down the street in your own Apple car anytime soon.

Apple’s highly mysterious EV initiative has made headlines for the past six years, and speculation about its plans has increased in recent months.

In January 2021, Hyundai confirmed there were talks with Apple about the possibility of partnering with the project, though the Korean automaker was quick to withdraw its statement – possibly after Apple contacted.

Since then, insiders who claim they are aware of the plans have said that Kia, Hyundai’s sister company, is now running the project. Sources tell CNBC this week that both it and Apple are pushing for a deal where the iCar will be manufactured at the Kia facility in West Point, Georgia.

Sources have also indicated that depending on the course of recent talks, Apple may be partnering with another automaker alongside Kia or even without Kia.

Apple appears to be intending to build its vehicle in the United States using the facilities of an established automaker, CNBC said in its report. The deal must also allow Apple to use its own software and hardware, the insiders said, to ensure that the finished product is a real “Apple Car” and not an automaker’s vehicle that only contains software made by Apple.

For Hyundai and Kia, the collaboration with the Californian technology company Cupertino could accelerate plans to launch their own autonomous vehicles and electric vehicles. Currently, seven electric vehicles are to be brought onto the market by 2027.

Recent reports suggest that Apple’s autonomous EV, which may also feature “breakthrough battery technology,” could hit the market in 2024, though respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in December 2020 that the exact design specifications of the vehicle has not yet been decided, suggesting we may not see it until 2028 or even later.

The situation seems to be moving fast, so expect more updates on this story soon.

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