Apple in talks with suppliers of sensors for autonomous vehicles

“Apple Inc has held talks with at least four companies as possible suppliers for next-generation lidar sensors in self-driving cars, evaluating the companies’ technology while also still working on its own lidar unit, three people familiar with the discussions said,” Stephen Nellis reports for Reuters. “The moves provide fresh evidence of Apple’s renewed ambitions to enter the autonomous vehicle derby, an effort it calls Project Titan. The talks are focused on next-generation lidar, a sensor that provides a three-dimensional look at the road.”

“Apple is seeking lidar units that would be smaller, cheaper and more easily mass produced than current technology, the three people said. The iPhone maker is setting a high bar with demands for a ‘revolutionary design,’ one of the people familiar with the talks said,” Nellis reports. “The people declined to name the companies Apple has approached.”

“Current lidar systems, including units from Velodyne Inc mounted on Apple’s fleet of self-driving test vehicles, use laser light pulses to render precise images of the environment around the car. But the systems can cost $100,000 and use mechanical parts to sweep the laser scanners across the road. That makes them too bulky and prone to failure for use in mass-produced vehicles,” Nellis reports. “It remains unclear whether the goal of Apple’s Project Titan is to build its own vehicle… But what is clear from Apple’s interest in cheaper lidar systems is that it wants to control the ‘perception stack’ of sensors, computers and software to drive an autonomous vehicle, regardless of who makes the vehicle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: More proof that:

Apple is working on actual vehicles, not just some “vehicleOS” they’d license out to others (which was always a stupid proposition, as anyone who’s studied how Apple works for more than 3 minutes knows implicitly).MacDailyNews, August 28, 2018

I’ve always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do.Steve Jobs, October 12, 2004

• In order to build the best products, you have to own the primary technologies. Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.Apple CEO Tim Cook, March 18, 2015

Project Titan: Apple hires Tesla’s former head of powertrains in effort to bring electric car to market – April 1, 2019
Project Titan: Apple confirms layoffs for 190 autonomous vehicle employees – February 27, 2019
Apple sharply increases testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads – February 13, 2019
Titan: Apple’s secret autonomous vehicle project is much bigger than people think – January 25, 2019
Apple dismisses more than 200 employees from Project Titan autonomous vehicle project – January 24, 2019
Apple hires designer Andrew Kim away from Tesla – December 17, 2018
Apple Car rumor roundup: Project Titan and what it means – September 1, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to launch revolutionary Apple Car within 5-7 years – August 15, 2018
Doug Field, former Tesla engineering chief, returns to Apple – August 10, 2018
Apple’s Project Titan is still a go, says analyst – June 28, 2018
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
Apple’s Bob Mansfield reboots Apple Car project, lays off several dozen employees – September 10, 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


    1. As we know so little about it it’s difficult to determine if that is the case, but anyway whatever the core results its important for a company like Apple to research all manner of this type of technology as it will effect much of what they will be involved in directly or indirectly within a decade. Hey if they had got involved in telecoms technology back when it was well outside of their core interests they would not have been paying extortionate amounts to Qualcomm for so long and they could have invested it … Well you know in things like self driving cars or numourous other important doner technologies.

  1. Inability to successfully bring a charging device to fruition, in-spite of tech level and preparation time, affects my confidence in Cook/Team being able to innovate (or simply release) at this level of sophistication.

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