Apple to Use Volkswagen Self-Driving Vans for Employees

Doris Richards
May 25, 2018

But Apple is still among the most valuable companies in the world and has more than $250 billion in cash on hand. At this point its unclear what Apple's plans for vehicle really are.

The iPhone maker has signed a deal with the German automaker to use Volkswagen T6 Transporter vans as self-driving shuttles to transport its employees to, from, and around various campuses and buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area, reports the New York Times. The focus eventually switched to finding a manufacturer to build vehicles, while Apple retained control of the design. Talks with Mercedes were not fruitful either.

According to the Times' sources-"five people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly"-BMW and Mercedes-Benz rejected a partnership with Apple due to requirements from the Cupertino-based firm to turn over all data and some design aspects of the auto".

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Apple originally began its vehicle project - known internally as Titan and T172 - in 2014. The company hired over 1,000 employees to reimagine the auto. The deal with Volkswagen is also said to reflect the diminished scope of Apple's four year old auto project. "Unconventional concepts", such as augmented-reality or holographic displays embedded in windshields and windows, a sunroof that would reduce hear from the sun, and adjustable tints for windows were all in the cards.

So now, Apple is working with Volkswagen's Italdesign in Italy on turning the T6 vans into electric self-driving shuttles. These Apple cars will have the same frame, wheels, and chassis as the T6, but Apple is replacing many components, including the dashboard and seats. Two former Apple employees also recalled how their colleagues built a model of a sport-utility vehicle with four seats facing each other, which some employees tested by sitting inside, similar to a design Mercedes advertised in 2015.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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