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Volkswagen to Supply Vehicles for Apple’s AV Program

Apple to use small van for testing.

by on May.25, 2018

Apple's new autonomous vehicle — a T6 Transporter van from Volkswagen.

Apple’s on-again-and-off again automotive project, has found a partner, Volkswagen, according to a published report.

The report in the The New York Times followed reports by various tech-oriented web sites and publications that both Mercedes-Benz and BMW had rejected the overtures to work with Apple, which once considered building its own electric-powered autonomous vehicles.

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More recently Apple appears to have in development software that could guide self-driving vehicles and has even developed an AV shuttle that has been used intermittently on its Silicon Valley campus. It also has applied for permits to test AVs throughout the State of California.

(Apple’s mysterious autonomous vehicle program is expanding. Click Here for the story.)

Like Waymo, Uber and other companies that have experimented with self-driving vehicles, it has decided to lean on the expertise of an experience automotive partner to build a reliable platform for AV experiments.

CEO Tim Cook has been coy about Apple's self-driving car program.

Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to utilize VW’s new T6 Transporter vans into Apple’s self-driving shuttles for employees. The shuttle project has fallen behind schedule and consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention, said three people familiar with the project, according to The New York Times.

Apple’s self-driving four-year old self-driving-car project has changed directions several times during the past four years. The changes have led to layoff and undercut have morale of those working on the project.

(Click Here to find out why is Apple checking out Fisker’s Emotion.)

Observers said the fits and starts have most likely put Apple even further behind in the race toward the self-driving future. Waymo, Uber and some carmakers such as General Motors have been testing various autonomous vehicles on public roads for several months.

A Fisker Emotion was spotted at Apple HQ in Silicon Valley last year.

When it began its self-driving car effort in 2014, Apple planned to produce the automotive version of the iPhone.

Apple enlisted software programmers, automotive engineers, rocket scientists and the industrial-design team of Apple’s design chief, Jonathan Ive, to reimagine the car.

(To see more about Apple’s first piece inside its self-driving car program, Click Here.)

It entertained a series of unconventional concepts, including augmented-reality or holographic displays embedded in windshields and windows, a sunroof made of a special polymer that reduces heat from the sun, and windows with adjustable tints — like those on Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner jets. according to The Times.

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