One of the designers in Apple’s Industrial Design Group helped create this shape-shifting fabric-covered car for BMW. Photo: BMW
As rumors that Apple is making a self-driving car rev up, a peek under the hood of the company’s famed Industrial Design studio reveals a crew of talented automobile designers.
An interest in futuristic cars is embedded deep within the DNA of Apple’s vaunted design team. Working under Jony Ive, Apple employs designers who worked on several fantastic concept cars, including a fabric-covered BMW that shifts shape depending on speed.
Ive has long been obsessed by cars. (He has quite a stable.) As a teenager, Ive wanted to be a car designer. He visited a U.K. design school that specialized in automotives with a view to studying there, but he found the other students too weird. They were making “vroom vroom” noises as they sketched. Instead, he went to Newcastle Polytechnic (which has since been renamed Northumbria University).
A look at other key members of Apple’s design team, and at a super-secret research-and-development facility planned for the company’s new campus, offers a few clues about how Cupertino might go about producing innovative and unconventional cars.
Audi built its Piloted Driving prototype into an RS 7 model. Photo: Audi
Are you eagerly awaiting the arrival of the self-driving car so it can save you from the stress and possible injury caused by people who swerve around in the streets like maniacs? Or do you hate the idea of a driverless auto because it won’t let you weave around all those slow a-holes who won’t get out of your way?
Regardless of how you feel about vehicles that don’t need your help to manage your commute, they’re coming, and change is often scary. especially if the free-wheeling roadster in question is a superfast Audi RS 7. And if you’re wondering what you look like when you’re sitting in a hunk of metal traveling at over 135 miles per hour with no control over the steering or brakes, Audi has you covered.
One of the most hopeful promises of augmented reality is that it will eventually help us understand the world immediately around us. I’ve always thought one of the best uses of AR technology in this respect was its application to cars: Pan your phone or tablet across an engine bay, for instance, and an AR app will tell you where to put oil or coolant, or which bolts to remove in order to access the battery.
Audi brought us a little closer to this (augmented) reality today with the release of an AR companion app, using technology from German-based AR powerhouse Metaio, for its entry-level A3 that explains features in the cabin and engine bay.
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This great new Audi commercial featuring two generations of Spocks — Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto — smack talking, swearing, racing and singing “The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins” is awesome for a lot of ways, but for iPad enthusiasts, the cream on top is at the very beginning, when Old Spock and New Spock play 3D Chess against each other on their iPads.
Sadly, the app itself doesn’t actually seem to exist. How have you overlooked doing a proper 3D Chess app, devs?
Cars are a fairly boring topic for me, but I just sat through this 15-minute documentary by Audi completely enthralled by the amount of dedication the Slots Mods team poured into making an iPad-controlled slot car race track utopia for Audi.
Basically, Audi asked Slot Mods to make an iPad-controlled slot car race track that would give people the experience of driving an Audi from their iPad. You can control the speed of the car from the iPad and a little video camera behind the windshield shows you what it’s like to be the driver. The concept is cool on its own, but the amount of details and obsession poured into the project make it truly enthralling.
Hyundai is set to showcase a number of new vehicles at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, and the company has announced that they’ll all include Siri Eyes Free technology. The feature allows iPhone owners to perform a whole host of tasks using the intelligent assistant — such as taking calls or creating Reminders — without taking their hands off the wheel.
GM finally makes it safe to use Siri at the wheel.
General Motors has announced that its upcoming Chevrolets will be the world’s first cars to offer “Eyes Free” Siri integration, allowing drivers to use the voice control capabilities of their iPhone without taking their hands off the wheel. The feature will be integrated into GM’s MyLink infotainment system.