According to the report in New York Times, after numerous conversations with Mercedes and BMW, Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to make it’s ambitious electric vehicle project. According to the deal, some of the T6 transport vans will be converted into Apple’s self-driving shuttles for its employees.
Apple finally was able to turn its long-standing negotiations into action after several years of hard work. Numerous previous negotiations broke down because of various reasons like different car design, controlling the vehicles authority and associated data produced over time by the vehicles.
Rewind back to 2017. Apple has already received a permit in California to test self-driving cars on public roads. For the testing phase of their project, the company has been using Lexus SUVs. The company is believed to have over 50 self-driving cars on the road in California. Apple CEO Tim Cook told Bloomberg that their autonomous venture is “the mother of all A.I. projects…probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects.”
A Volkswagen subsidiary called Italdesign located in Turin, Italy, will “remake Volkswagen’s T6 vans as electric self-driving shuttles.” According to sources who requested not to be identified said, “The frame, wheel, and chassis of the T6 vans will remain, but Apple is replacing many components, including the dashboard and seats, said two people familiar with the project. Apple is also adding other computers, sensors and a large electric car battery, they said. The shuttles will ferry employees between two of Apple’s Silicon Valley campuses, and will include a driver behind the wheel to take control if needed, as well as an operator in the passenger’s seat tracking the van’s performance.”
Volkswagen on the other hand, is also working on its own autonomous electric car, called the I.D. Vizzion, which it plans to launch by 2022. Apple’s PAIL project, which is an acronym for Palo Alto Infinite Loop, is supposedly behind. Als,o Apple plans on having two operators man for each self-driving shuttle. It will deploy a backup driver and a co-pilot for the safety purpose.
After so many years of negotiation, its finally happen. So finally, its gonna be a Van, not a car.