Apple aims to build self-driving car with no steering wheel

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Apple reportedly wants to eliminate the steering wheel and pedals from its autonomous vehicle.
Apple reportedly wants to eliminate the steering wheel and pedals from its autonomous vehicle.
Photo: Samuele Errico Piccarini/Unsplash CC

Apple is reportedly committed to making a car capable of driving completely autonomously. The new head of the project won’t be satisfied with a vehicle with only limited capabilities.

The car might not need a steering wheel or pedals at all. And it could be on the road by 2025.

Apple car’s new driver puts the pedal to the metal

Kevin Lynch, Apple’s VP of technology, took over as head of the company’s secret car project in July 2021. And he’s the one who decided to focus on a car that can drive fully on its own, according to Bloomberg.

Previously, Apple reportedly had been considering two possibilities. One was a completely autonomous vehicle, while the other option was a car with more limited self-driving capabilities. Not anymore, though — engineers on Project Titan are now concentrating on a car that can drive without human interaction.

No steering wheel needed

Apple reportedly might make the interior of its autonomous vehicle look something like Canoo's Lifestyle Vehicle.
Apple reportedly might make the interior of its autonomous vehicle look something like Canoo’s Lifestyle Vehicle.
Photo: Canoo

Lynch and his design team supposedly would like to make a car that needs no steering wheel or pedals. The vehicle would be truly autonomous with no driver, just passengers who can face each other and talk … or tinker with their iPhones or iPads. “The car would also be heavily integrated with Apple’s existing services and devices,” reports Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

But Project Titan engineers are realistic — and aware that emergency manual controls might be necessary.

In the fast lane

Today’s report also sheds light on the custom Apple silicon — packed with neural processors to handle the complex self-driving tasks — that is allegedly well along in development.

And Lynch reportedly is being ambitious about getting the vehicle to customers. “Apple is internally targeting a launch of its self-driving car in four years, faster than the five- to seven-year timeline that some engineers had been planning for earlier this year,” wrote Gurman.

Road-testing of an Apple car with the new processor could begin soon, according to the report.