Billions of dollars in research operations, more than 1000 developers, mysterious workshops – the Apple iCar looks set to revolutionise personal mobility, bringing with it technologies that promise to alter the way we have traditionally used and perceived the car.
While Apple has refused to confirm or deny the project, a letter sent by Apple's director of product integrity Steve Kenner to US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) authorities in November 2016 seems to suggest the project is ongoing. “To maximise the safety benefits of automated vehicles, encourage innovation, and promote fair competition, established manufacturers and new entrants should be treated equally,” says the letter, seen by the BBC, suggesting Apple is trying to pave the way to enter the car market on equal terms with its established rivals.
In the letter Apple also proposes that car companies share data from crashes and near-misses in order to pool data on autonomous technology and thereby design better systems. However, it also acknowledges that this should only be done if does not breach an individual's privacy.
Autocar understands that behind a heavy veil of secrecy, the Apple iCar has now progressed to what insiders describe as committed project status. Here we outline the electric car every established automotive manufacturer secretly fears.
The story behind the Apple iCar
Behind the pre-fabricated aluminium façade of a large building at the rear of an industrial estate in Sunnyvale, California, USA, work is progressing on what could possibly be the most significant car to emerge since Karl Benz’s ground breaking Benz Patent-Motorwagen first introduced the world to the motorised carriage 130 years ago.