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Apple’s Car Project Probably Not Self-Driving

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Apple logoAlthough Apple’s long-term plans include bringing a self-driving car to market, its first car, expected to debut in 2019, will probably be electric, but not autonomous, Neil Hughes reports for appleinsider. David Gilbert writes for the International Business Times that a senior legal counsel at Apple, Mike Malefic, met on August 17 with California Division of Motor Vehicles officials to discuss autonomous vehicle regulations. As this blog wrote back in February, according to news reports at that time, Apple was working on a self-driving vehicle.

However, Hughes writes:

Putting a self-driving car on the road would require Apple to make public disclosures about a future product, but if the first model launches in 2019 without driverless capabilities, the iPhone maker could theoretically keep the project under wraps until it’s ready to make an announcement.

There are some who doubt that the car would be ready to launch in 2019, Hughes writes.

A previous article in appleinsider (attributed only to appleinsider staff) said that Apple has been hiring many employees away from Tesla, to work on its car project known as “Project Titan,” ranging from production managers to senior engineers. Apple plans to triple the size of the Project Titan team from 600 to 1,800 employees, Hughes writes.

It has not been revealed whether Apple will manufacture the car, or contract it out, writes Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan for Gizmodo. Although most major auto makers create their own factories, Apple has not manufactured its iPhones or iPads, Campbell-Dollaghan writes. However, earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal’s Daisuke Wakabayashi, wrote that Apple is one of the few companies on the planet that could afford to do so, Campbell-Dollaghan writes.

Hughes writes:

And AppleInsider’s own sources have indicated that Apple may be forced to partner with an established automotive manufacturer as it looks to bring its own vehicle to market. Specifically, the company is said to be eyeing property it recently purchased in San Jose [California] for development and potential manufacturing.

Secret Facility

In an exclusive report earlier this year, appleinsider wrote that most of the work on Project Titan is being done in Sunnyvale, Calif., at a secret facility with the code name SG5, Hughes writes. Apple may be hiding information about what is taking place at the Sunnyvale garage with the shell company SixtyEight Research, Hughes writes. According to rumors, Apple executives have met with BMW and toured some of that carmaker’s manufacturing facilities in Germany, writes Tim Stevens for CNET, who asks if BMW might become the manufacturer of Apple cars.

In a comment to the appleinsider piece, M.G. Siegler writes, “Apple Car project is worst kept secret in Bay Area. There are more people working on it than work at almost every startup.”

Stevens writes that a lot of people are excited about the possibility that Apple will bring a new perspective to personal transportation, as the iPod, iPhone, and iPad have done in their categories. “How long will it take to get into the fast lane this time?” Stevens asks.

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