Over the past few years Apple has been developing its self-driving vehicle projects codename- Titan. The project is rumored to have over 5,000 engineers working on it. New leaks are showing that Apple was already negotiating with electric vehicle suppliers to create the Apple car.
Before the original iPhone was even released, Apple was already in discussion for the creation of the Apple car. In 2001, Steve Jobs met with the creator of the V Vehicle, which is a lightweight petroleum powered car that used cheaper materials and could sell for just $14,000. Job saw massive potential in the V Vehicle as a glass fiber vehicle was 14% lighter than a normal steel made vehicle and costed 17% lees to produce. Ultimately, Jobs decided to focus on the release of the iPhone. After the rise of the iPhone, apple began looking into the creation of its car once again.
In 2014, Apple started project Titan with a vision of bringing a compelling smart car that would be the ultimate mobile device. This would be leaked in February of 2015 when a mysterious van leased to Apple was spotted with a camera rig attached to it. Just a few days later one anonymous Apple employee gave a dark warning to Elon Musk by stating that project Titan would give Tesla a run for its money. Even Tesla employee were heading over to Apple as the project was too exciting to pass on. Afterwards, Apple hired Johann Jungwirt, who is the former of Mercedes-Benz research and development executive.
It is confirmed that Apple was not just focusing on creating the self-driving software for cars, but also making an electric vehicle. The leader of project Titan is Steve Zadensky, who is already given go-ahead by Tim Cook to recruit up 1,000 employees. After meeting with luxuries car manufactures like Magna Steyr. Their concept vehicle revealed that Apple was looking to create a smooth looking Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). It was rumored to have a variety of features.
For example, silent motorized doors controlled through the user’s iPhone. Another one Apple looked into was implementing augmented reality into the displays. However, the craziest feature is the fact that Apple wants to use spherical wheels. It would be similar to what Audi revealed in 2004 with its Audi RSQ concept.
That would be interesting to the Apple car. At the same time, it would also be quite expensive. Goodyear has revealed its concept of spherical tires in 2016. Now, while Apple did have some crazy ambitions there were also many internal problems.
But, the auto industry represents a huge opportunity at $2 trillion. Apple does have certain advantages:
- strong balance sheet
- deep pockets
- world-class designers
- hardware-software integration
And now Apple brought in the house many of the technologies that could help in developing such a car:
- camera, sensor
Perhaps, Apple could upend and redefine other markets as it did with smartphones. On the other hand, there will be a real risk for Cook as well. Ultimately, for all the excitement the auto industry is a low-margin and capital-intensive business. that why more analytics says that Cook more likely will focus the company’s money, time, and afford more narrowly on software. For example, an autonomous driving system or license to traditional car makers.
Moreover, a lot of room for growth as right now about 3% of total cars sold are electric. Over the next 5 years, probably, the number will be changed to 30%. For sure, there may be a lot of reasons why Apple could be interested in building their own car. Also, to remember, that the car industry is a low-margin business. What report indicates that they make really developed breakthrough technology that will lower cost and make cars for customers more affordable.
In terms of Apple’s brand and software abilities, I think that will be something really impressive and affordable as iPhone. The strategic partnership which they recently announced is the first step for a long-life collaboration.