Where Apple could crush the autonomous driving race

“Last week, we reported on the autonomous-driving partnership between Apple Inc. and Volkswagen,” Bret Kenwell writes for TheStreet. “Despite being two of the largest companies in their respective industries, the current partnership is rather dismissable. As it stands, Volkswagen is producing T6 Transporter vans, which Apple is using to retrofit with its self-driving sensors and software.”

“It’s not for commercial development or consumer use — at least not yet. It will be used to transport Apple employees between its headquarters,” Kenwell writes. “Even that project is unlikely to be finished this year, according to sources.”

“Of course, it’s very early in the autonomous driving race. But that doesn’t mean Apple should let its competition get too far ahead of it. After all, at some point they may not be able to catch up. Short of acquiring an automaker or big-tech company already making inroads, though, what should Apple do?” Kenwell writes. “The company has the financial firepower to be a leader in the area, practically overnight if it were that committed. Instead, maybe it should focus on the inside of the car. After all, Apple is used to controlling the customer experience, right?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: While certainly not perfect, Apple is still a damn sight better than another other company when it comes to user experience. As in-vehicle electronics and features proliferate, we’d certainly want that Apple experience to be extended throughout the entire vehicle and not just be limited to the display via CarPlay as it is today.

Apple’s autonomous vehicle fleet grows to 62 vehicles in California – May 29, 2018
Apple’s autonomous vehicle project may be closer to fruition than it appears – May 25, 2018
Google buys 20,000 SUVs, Apple gets two dozen VW vans – May 24, 2018
Volkswagen looks to Apple for electric-car design guidance – February 16, 2018
Apple said to develop car operating system in Canada – October 25, 2016
Apple scales back ‘Project Titan,’ effort no longer includes building own car – October 17, 2016
Apple’s Bob Mansfield reboots Apple Car project, lays off several dozen employees – September 10, 2016
South Korea company’s never-before-revealed battery technology expected to be Apple Car’s ‘secret weapon’ – August 9, 2016
Apple Car: Everything we know about Apple’s mysterious ‘Project Titan’ – July 29, 2016
Apple Car: An operating system licensed to other auto-makers? – July 29, 2016
Apple hires founder of QNX with Apple Car project increasing focus on self-driving software – July 28, 2016
Apple taps Bob Mansfield to oversee Apple Car project – July 25, 2016
Beleaguered Volkswagen hires expert in self-driving cars from Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ – November 10, 2015


  1. Crush? Given the recent headlines associated with a so-called “auto pilot” driving system, that may not be the best word choice for Apple’s new system.

  2. Apple has a reputation of a dilettante and seems only able to accomplish one thing at a time- either take care of iOS at the expense of the Mac, but not both.

    The list of things Apple has abandoned is rather long and successes are not that many.

  3. Car wise I think Apple should add a mode to activate CarPlay on the screen of an iOS device without having a screen in your car. I have a car which I use on occasion but it’s nowhere near the point where I need to upgrade it and I certainly wouldn’t do it just for CarPlay. I have bluetooth so if I could use the screen of my phone I’d have the best of both worlds. With a stroke they’d have a massive user base of people using it in their cars.

    1. Love the idea. May involve leaving an adjustable ‘alcove’ in the dashboard somewhere to insert your iPhone so it also supports new device sizes. While they’re at it, include a wireless charge pad so the iPhone can recharge while you drive around.

      1. The thing is that people are already mounting their phones in their cars to use satnav (and other things) so a car play interface on the phone has to be safer than the regular one.

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