It has long been rumoured that Apple will one day launch an electric vehicle. The company has been its usual secretive self about this, but new government records show Apple’s auto division almost quadrupled its self-driving miles in 2023.
Records submitted by the company to a California agency show that Apple went on an autonomous testing spree last year, almost quadrupling the number of miles it tested on public roads compared to 2022 and jumping 2021’s total by a factor of more than 30.
The data covers December 2022 to November 2023, reports Wired. The majority of the testing miles were in the second half of the reporting period, with miles tested peaking in August at 83,900.
The data published by the California government is even more interesting in the context of a Bloomberg report from last month, which said that Apple had downgraded its ambitions to build a self-driving electric car. Where the company once aimed to produce a car that could drive itself anywhere, at any time, Bloomberg reported that Apple now aims to develop automated driving-assistance features more in line with those offered by automakers like Tesla, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. Though these features have automated elements, they require drivers to pay attention to the road at all times. The debut date for the scaled-down Apple EV has slipped from 2026 to 2028, Bloomberg reported.
If its history of successfully capturing consumers is anything to go by, Apple is likely to corner a good percentage of the EV market. According to Morgan Stanley researchers in 2021, an Apple car would only need to capture 2 percent of the market to equal the revenue that it currently gets from the iPhone.
The Apple electric car project, code named 'Titan', is estimated to have as many as 5,000 employees working on the various aspects of it.
Because Apple has no experience with car manufacturing, it will need partners to produce the vehicle, and Apple is said to be working on securing partnerships in the automobile industry. It is not yet known who Apple will work with but, reports MacRumors, it has held discussions with Hyundai and other companies.
The Apple Car has been described as Apple's "next star product" with Apple able to offer "better integration of hardware, software and services" than potential competitors in the automotive market. The Apple Car is likely to be marketed as a high-end vehicle rather than a standard electric vehicle, but Apple is aiming for a price point under $100,000.