After some silence around Apple’s efforts to develop its own self-driving car and little visibility of the Cupertino-based computer giant’s efforts, Taiwan’s DigiTimes now reports a bit more movement. Apple is reportedly not only continuing to poach high-ranking executives from automotive companies like Tesla, but also building dedicated electronics factories for automotive electronics in the US.
Also, companies in the electronics supply chain report that Apple has entered into preliminary cooperation negotiations, indicating that starting in 2024 or 2025, Apple may plan to begin production of a potential self-driving electric iCar.
Recently, it was reported that the construction of a plant in the U.S., a production plan, and preliminary technologies and specifications have been established, and Apple has begun to collaborate and negotiate with upstream and downstream global supply chains for automotive electronics, which have long been evaluated to better understand whether they meet current regulations.
The third-largest semiconductor electronics contract manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is said to have already tested Apple Car technology – specifically, in-house developed AI processors for autonomous driving – and has an R & D facility in Nanke. TSMC is also the manufacturer of the AI chips for Tesla.
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Foxconn, a longtime manufacturing partner of Apple, in turn, recently announced its entry into the electric vehicle business, demonstrating a battery for electric vehicles and other related vehicle technologies. Foxconn is already working with Italian-American automaker Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) and Chinese manufacturer Yulong. This could pave the way for Apple to produce its own car with Foxconn.
According to insiders at electronics manufacturers, Apple’s electronics design for autonomous cars is not too far away from Tesla, so there seems to be some overlap. Apple, which controls its supply chain very tightly, is expected to be in the process of preparing its own factories and resource yields for battery production and electronics. Many Taiwanese companies had begun sending samples and quotes at Apple’s request. It is expected that during 2021, in turn, the list of suppliers for Apple’s iCar will become known.
Here are some pictures of Apple’s autonomous test vehicles over the last few years.
This article was also published in German.