News Link: Apple Targets Car Production By 2024 – Eyes Next Level Battery Technology – By MK (Editor)
Apple Inc is moving forward with self driving car technology. It is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.
The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan. They have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018. And laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.
Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers.
Two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo. Waymo has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service.
Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries. Also increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.
Apple declined to comment on its plans or future products.
It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car. Sources have said they expect the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles. And there is still a chance Apple will decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system. That would be integrated with a car made by a traditional automaker.
Two people with knowledge of Apple’s plans warned pandemic-related delays. That could push the start of production into 2025 or beyond.
Apple has decided to tap outside partners for elements of the system, including lidar sensors. Which help self-driving cars get a three-dimensional view of the road.
Apple’s car might feature multiple lidar sensors for scanning different distances. Some sensors could be derived from Apple’s internally developed lidar units, that person said. Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models released this year both feature lidar sensors.
As for the car’s battery, Apple plans to use a unique “monocell” design. That bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside.
Apple’s design means that more active material is possible inside the battery. That giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining chemistry for a new battery. The name is LFP, or lithium iron phosphate. Which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.
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