Courage: (Alleged) Apple Car says ‘sayonara, steering wheel (u)
In case you’re still coming to terms with the decision to abandon the headphone port in iPhone, get ready for your next shock as it seems the mythical Apple Car will first reach market as a last mile autonomous ride-sharing system that ships without a steering wheel, maybe.
UPDATE: Within days of this gossip hitting the Apple market, both Hyundai and Kia moved to deny talks with Apple are taking place, with Apple speaking also with other manufacturers and the company upset that its secrets had slipped out. Reportedly. My take? Add two years to the estimated launch date of this mythical speculative product in the below as clearly things are quite as advanced as I’d hoped.
Steering as a service
Now, I suppose it’s possible Apple will sell a $10K steering wheel accessory for those anachronists who still want to feel in control of their vehicles as they drive them at unnecessarily high speed on wet roads near crowds of pedestrians, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
It’s also kind of interesting to consider that until very recently in the game of Apple Car smoke and mirrors people would point to the data coming out of highly regulated self-driving car tests in California as proof that Apple was in some way behind the game on AI vehicles. What if it wasn’t?
After all, when you sit down and simply allow the latest speculation to occupy your inspiration-friendly back brain and consider news Apple may be working with as many as six or more car manufacturers, you must think about some of the other possibilities here.
- What if Apple has been working with at least some of these people relatively closely for some time?
- What if the Autonomous Vehicle research it has been doing up to now has only in part been visible?
- What if it has reached research sharing deals with some of these firms?
All you can predict – if the latest claim Apple intends making the vehicle a last mile AV thing is true – is that if those kinds of speculations are reaching publications that also host well-resourced fact checking units, then more people are talking, which means more people are in the know, which implies that whatever plan the secretive company is working on just hit a new phase.
Now, if that speculation is true then we also know this isn’t an exclusive tech research project because plenty of patent filings and other paraphernalia have slipped and shipped to confirm that research was taking place. I’m sure it still is, but these aren’t leaks concerning R&D, these are about production. And we also kind of know the project is moving into production now because of recent claims around Kia/Hyundai.
However, news that the company is engaged in cosy chats across the Japanese car industry suggests Apple really is ramping up the project. Any swinger knows you don’t talk to multiple potential partners until you’re ready to make something happen.
Ergo: something is happening.
So, what do you think is going on? Here’s the poll(s).