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Apple Car could be further than anticipated as new rumors circulate that the company has pushed back a potential launch date to 2026 at a price lower than $100,000 dollars. The Apple Car has been a welcome project for iPhone maker watchers, as it's a product that could push Apple to its next trillion in value. However, it looks like it might be longer to wait for someone to buy a car from the company, as Apple has made a number of changes to the project as a whole.
According to people familiar with the secret Apple project, in a conversation with Bloomberg, he was stuck for several months, and executives had problems with the concept of a car without a steering wheel that works with currently available technologies. .
Instead of a full-fledged autonomous driving system, Apple is now planning a more conventional car design, complete with steering wheel and pedals. Sources say that fully autonomous driving will still be available, but only on motorways.
Earlier, Apple wanted to offer a car with “Level 5” autonomy, namely a car that could drive on any road that a person can drive on. This will effectively allow passengers to specify their destination and arrive there without additional steps, like an automated taxi.
This level of autonomy would allow for a “room on wheels” approach, as users would not necessarily have to sit behind the wheel with immediate and direct controls available.
Under the new plans, drivers will still be able to perform other tasks, such as watching a movie or doing work, while the car is moving on the freeway. Drivers could then be warned in advance when they need to switch to manual driving, in the event of sudden bad weather or near populated areas.
Price cuts and delays
As well as changing time frames, Apple also seems to be changing their pricing plans. The Apple Car was originally supposed to sell for over $120,000, but Apple is now believed to be targeting it to cost consumers less than $100,000.
This will put the Apple Car in the same price bracket as the current entry-level Tesla Model S.
In addition to a possible launch in 2026, Apple is still working on the design at the “pre-prototype” stage, sources say. The development timeline could include design being finalized by the end of 2024, with extensive testing taking place in 2025.
Reports for the end of 2021 say that Apple previously aimed to release a version in 2025.
Inline processing, costly cloud usage
Currently Apple Car's on-board computer, called the Denali, has a processor that is about four times faster than the most powerful Apple Mac chip, which is still being developed by a group of silicon engineers. This chip is believed to have reached an advanced stage of development and is close to being ready for production, although it could be scaled down before a car is released.
The system also uses lidar and radar sensors as well as cameras to see the road and the environment. This system is complemented by a cloud-based system hosted on Amazon Web Services, which costs about $125 million per year.
It is estimated that Apple spends about $1 billion annually on the Apple Car in its current state.
Despite several years of development, Apple's level of interest in the project has changed from time to time. After a few years of relative calm, the company reportedly refocused in September and began working on rebuilding the project team by the end of 2022.
This included several senior employees, including the veteran Lamborghini executive in July. , and a safety expert from Ford in May. He's also had quite a few layoffs, including one engineer who left Apple six months after joining the project, and in September 2021, Ford poached project leader Doug Field.
At the same time, the existing team reportedly had to deal with its own setbacks, including constantly proving the value of the project to management. There were claims that “ever-changing targets” were causing problems in the July project report, as well as a “revolving door of leaders” that contributed to uncertainty in the operation.