21-01-2021 | | By Robin Mitchell
Apple and Hyundai are soon to form a partnership that will see autonomous vehicles' development by 2024. What is currently known about the partnership, what technology will they utilize, and what does this mean for the autonomous industry?
It has recently come to light that the tech giant Apple and the automotive manufacturer Hyundai will form a partnership to develop autonomous vehicles. While not confirmed in writing, the two companies have been said to be in a basic agreement to a partnership by Korea IT News. Neither company has commented, but some facts about both companies suggest that the rumours are indeed true.
To start, Hyundai was previously asked if it had been in talks about autonomous vehicles with Apple, and the company responded that it was. However, as news broke out of the talks, Hyundai announced that it was in talks with multiple companies. Furthermore, Hyundai stated that it was under the impression that Apple was talking to other car companies.
Korea IT News also mentioned that the two companies would aim to have a prototype vehicle ready by 2022, and a production model by 2024. However, this time frame could be pushed to 2027 depending on COVID and other financial impacts.
Apple, famous for its range of i products, has been working on a secrete project called Project Titan. While there are no precise details behind the project, it is known that it is involved with autonomous driving and automated systems.
However, a major restructuring of the project in 2019 saw more than 200 employees fired, suggesting that the project had not gone to plan. Furthermore, Apple had moved away from designing a car to developing a solution that can be incorporated into an existing vehicle back in 2016.
Setbacks in Project Titan may have caused some issues with Apple in the autonomous industry. Still, the move to providing a solution that can be retrofitted to vehicles is a strong indicator that the partnership between Apple and Hyundai is genuine.
While the Apple car may never happen (this varies from report to report), it has certainly attempted the goal multiple times, and this new attempt to get a car manufactured through Hyundai could be the closest Apple gets. However, while Apple may have previously failed to produce their own car, the research conducted and technological improvements made as a result will certainly not be going to waste.
One key area that affects electric vehicles is battery technology as this determines how fast the car can run, how far it can run, and how long it takes to charge. A large battery that can provide 500 miles of the range may sound like a good idea, but if it only provides a top speed of 20mph and takes 24 hours to charge, it is not a practical battery for a vehicle.
Hyundai is specialists in car design and production; but unlike Tesla, they are not primarily known for their battery technology. Thus, Hyundai and Apple's partnership could see Apple use its technological advancements in Hyundai vehicles to produce a Hyundai/Apple hybrid. It has also been said that Apple has patented several different technologies, including self-tinting glass and new motor systems.
Apple has been working on autonomous cars for a while, and Hyundai is a large car manufacturer. It is often easier to outsource projects, and getting a car manufacturer to create 90% of a vehicle is arguably easier than trying to construct one from scratch. Apple has a lot of technology in autonomous driving. With its developments in battery technology, it makes logical sense that the two companies are indeed planning to produce the next generation of vehicles.