Volkswagen and Apple have signed an agreement to work together on a series of driverless shuttle buses to ferry Silicon Valley employees between Apple’s two campuses.
The New York Times reports that the two companies will create a fleet of driverless shuttles, with Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter playing host to Apple’s driverless technologies.
Apple turned to Volkswagen after reportedly being turned away from several major manufacturers initially, including McLaren, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, the latter being the brand’s first choice for implementing the technology in road cars.
The collaboration is under development at an Italdesign facility near Turin, with the Transporters being refitted with new dashboards, seats and the requisite sensors and computers to convert the vans to driverless shuttles.
They will also be converted to electric power - the vans are currently only available as petrol or diesel - although a battery capacity has not been mooted.
Volkswagen has already partnered with a different autonomous technology provider in Aurora, which the brand is working with on its Moia ride-sharing service. Aurora also works with the Hyundai Group on its upcoming driverless technologies.
Moia will be offered to the public, however, while Volkswagen and Apple’s scheme will only be open to Apple employees requiring transport between its two sites in Silicon Valley.
It’s believed that the joint project will continue into 2019, although the project was originally aimed at being completed by the end of this year.