Apple signed a deal with Volkswagen to develop self-propelled shuttle buses. The vans are meant for transporting Apple employees. Earlier there were rumors that Apple had chosen for BMW.
Within Apple, the Project Titan team is working on all kinds of activities in the field of self-driving cars. The emphasis in recent times has been on developing software, not on making your own vehicle yourself. For the hardware required, Apple would initially work with BMW and Mercedes Benz, but according to the New York Times that cooperation would have broken because Apple demanded more control over the design and the data.
The automakers did not want to cooperate. Now Apple would have signed a deal with Volkswagen. The plan is to make self-driving vans, intended to transport Apple employees between the buildings of Apple in Silicon Valley.
The parties opted for existing T6 Transporter vans that are converted into self-driving vehicles. The program would have been given the name ‘Palo Alto to Infinity Loop’ (PAIL). Apple works with Volkswagen subsidiary Italdesign to provide the vans with special dashboards, on-board computers, sensors and an electric battery. PAIL came to light for the first time last August and is behind schedule. If the shuttle buses will eventually drive, two drivers will be traveling: a person who must be able to intervene in case of calamities and a second driver as a backup.
Meanwhile, Apple is also still testing self-driving cars. There are 55 vehicles from Apple on the road in California, where there is still a driver behind the wheel to be able to intervene in emergencies. These are Lexus SUVs. In addition, Apple would not have a clear idea of where they want to go with their autonomous vehicle project. Initially, the plans would have been much more ambitious, with Apple, in collaboration with a partner, really wanting to build an ‘Apple Car’.
Apple itself is secretive about the activities around self-driving cars. Tim Cook has confirmed earlier that Apple is working on autonomous systems. The emphasis here is mainly on software that car manufacturers can use to make their vehicles self-driving.
Image: Motor 1