Apple Teams With VW To Bring Self-Driving T6 Electric Vans To Life


Apple tried to team up with companies like BMW and Mercedes-Benz before winding up with VW.

After years of development, the Apple car is allegedly close to hitting the road. However, it won’t look like the futuristic model from countless renderings, and the tech giant won’t sell the vehicle to the public. Instead, the company will partner with Volkswagen to create an overhauled, autonomous version of the Volkswagen Transporter van, according to multiple anonymous sources speaking to The New York Times.

Related – Apple Halts Electric Car Production Plans For Now – Project Titan Is Still Alive

While neither VW nor apple officially confirm this rumor, the insiders claim that the two companies partnered up in late 2017. Italdesign, a part of the VW Group, has the task of helping to transform the Transporter. The work includes overhauling the cabin, including replacing the dashboard and seats. The team also needs to cram all of the self-driving sensors and computers into the van. Plus, the models would undergo a conversion to run on electric power, instead of the publicly available combustion engines.

Apple will use these autonomous vans as shuttles for employees to carry them between two campuses in Silicon Valley. While technically self-driving vehicles, there will be a person in the driver’s seat to take control if necessary and someone in the passenger’s seat to keep track of the sensors, according to The New York Times.

Completing these autonomous Transporters is reportedly behind schedule, despite “consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention,” The New York Times reports. The goal is for the first of them to be ready by the end of the year, but this deadline is allegedly somewhat optimistic.

According to this story, VW wasn’t Apple’s first, second, or even third choice for an automotive partner. BMW was the primary target, but after things fell through, the tech giant went to Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, BYD Auto, and McLaren. The major stumbling block to finding a collaborator was reportedly finding a company that agreed for Apple to control the data and user experience.

Source: The New York Times

Categories: Apple, Volkswagen

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24 Comments on "Apple Teams With VW To Bring Self-Driving T6 Electric Vans To Life"

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Finally. The expensive phone maker and the worst car maker combine to provide the overpriced EV that stinks.

I’d love to see the burner phone 📱 you carry

Well the cheap always come out expensive

Apple isn’t stupid and VW has something to prove.

VW just got into bed with a seriously capable power partner.

Think bigger son. It won’t be a private EV. it will be a fleet of Uber like self driving EVs. You’ll pay through either and “Apple Car” subscription or ala carte as you go (like Uber). Done seamlessly through Apple Pay, and their services revenue (and stock) will skyrocket.

….And I’ll be retired. 😉

The most cash rich company on the planet that knows software and the largest auto manufacturer in the world that knows how to build vehicles, I think you’ve called this one wrong Vich.

This is a major major industry moment if accurate. Self driving technology needs the talent, financial resources, and automotive expertise to push the technology forward in a stable and responsible way.

Like any new technology, we will see a step-like movement to the full autonomy that has been envisioned.

I appreciate what Tesla has done to push mindshare on autonomous driving BUT this is a high risk and capital intensive activity. Tesla simply does not have the capital resources to give this technology the ongoing capital investment needed to bring it to the market in a stable manner.

Would it not be an win-win if Tesla would partner with Apple and VW on this effort? After the MobilEye split, it does appear that Tesla MAY have lost tremendous ground supporting AutoPilot and FSD has gone totally silent.

Why is self-driving a capital-intensive activity? Tesla has deployed electronics, hardware, and sensors for some autonomous driving. After that it’s just data (which Tesla has more of than any other company), and software.

You can claim that Level 5 autonomy requires more advanced sensors and “hand-acquired” data like Wayne and Cruise are getting, but the truth is nobody knows.

Completely wrong, and your view is typical of the confusion among the public.
What Tesla has in its commercially-sold cars is exactly the same features as all other carmakers: Driver Assist features that require 100% driver attention all the time, legally and practically. In the SAE autonomy hierarchy, this is referred to as SAE Autonomy Level 1.
Full autonomous driving is Level 4 (if the environment is constrained, e.g., only freeways in a geofenced area in good weather) or Level 5 (no constraints); there is no need for any driver whatsoever.

There is no relation whatsoever between L1 and L5, in either the HW or SW required. Tesla is very much very much behind on L4/L5 developments in all respects after Waymo and GM/Cruise. Noone knows whether L4/L5 is even possible anytime in the next few decades, since it requires solving the “Hard AI” problems which are not understood at all at this point in time.

Apple could do autonomy, they need central computers and AI.

They have AI and everything else you can imagine.

What do think SIRI is ⁉️

This is the worst linking with a leader in a Hail Mary to improve their standing. I get what Apple gains, but not what VW gains in this partnership.

According to the Navigant report on Autonomous technology, GM and Waymo are in the lead, with VW also in the leading pack along with BMW, Daimler, Ford and Nissan. Navigant’s scoring placed Apple down in the gutter with Tesla and Uber. Apple scored below-par in execution and dead-last in strategy.

The other industry leaders all rejected Apple. Why in the world would VW hook up with them? Did Dieselgate dry up VW’s cash flow? Wireless headphone technology? access to the Lightning plug battery charging protocol?

Well they tried to go w/ BMW and Mercedes so I’d say VW wins big time.

Apple has more money than Anyone.

Yup, Apple can afford to make a mistake, but I doubt they will… Exciting news… and for VW they get an investment to help with transition to BEV vehicles, should be a win-win for both companies…

Maybe Apple ‘jumped the shark’ and saw the challenges manufacturing autos (courtesy of Fremont, CA) and decided collaboration is better than sinking multiple billions into learning a science perfected by others (auto manufacture).

Apple knows software and open a new market for them.

“Apple can afford to make a mistake,”

If they had wanted they could have purchased VW . GM, and a few others in cash.

They would probably not have been allowed to. Also. . Apple does not do manufacturing. They outsource that to a low cost country, as a rule.
IF that wanted to manufacture 50% of their products in the US – they could afford it. But they love money too much to contribute more then they have to.

Thats right…. Ding Ding Ding… Apple knows where to focus their effort, design and engineering, let some other suckers figure out how to make the stuff… Although Foxconn is not doing bad making most of their products for them. I remember when Foxconn was just some small company in Taiwan, that nobody had ever heard of.

BTW, there are a few reason Apple does not make their core products in the USA, for years the manufacturing climate here was pretty anti business, with all the environmental laws, etc. As a developer, I know exactly what companies are up against when they want to develop large manufacturing… Its hard in most places, that is why most automakers in the USA organize in the South. Nice tax structure, states that appreciate the business, and make the environmental standards fit around the factories, and non union labor. Also, China is not so low cost anymore, labor unions are taking hold in China, and the Chinese government is cranking down on the environment.

Absolutely, Apple has a huge bankroll, but they are not stupid with it, hence it keeps growing. They are not going to waste their cash on some automaker with low profit margins, and incredibly large liability. Tim Cook is an amazing CEO (some argue a business manager) and has taken Apple to financial heights they may have never reached with any other CEO.

“According to the Navigant report ”

HaA, HA, HA, Ha. sorry. The same group that predicted10,000,000 FCEVs by 2020? Their drivel was so bad they were compelled to change their name. You may or may not have a valid point. I stopped reading when I reached Navigant.

Navigant used a bunch of nonsense factors to rank companies, since they’re unable to predict who will develop the best the fastest.

Overall I think it’s a plus, and certainly indicates that the ev revolution and all forms of gvt ( ground vehicle transport) will be all electric in the near term. Another thing is that the aforementioned revolution doth make for strange bedfellows.

So this is only going to be used on the old T6 model then? Why not on the new T7?

Because there is no T7.
T6 came in 2015, just 2 years ago.