How the Apple Car will make you money, and more fun about robot vehicles [Kahney’s Korner]

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Kahney's Korner podcast with robocar expert Paul Godsmark
Autonomous cars are going to change the world like nothing we've seen before. A fascinating interview with robocar expert Paul Godsmark.
Photo: Paul Godsmark/Stephen Smith

The old adage is that new cars depreciate the minute you buy them. However, the rumored Apple car might be the first vehicle to actually make you money after you drive it off the lot.

If Apple’s car is autonomous, it’ll earn its keep delivering people or goods when you’re not using it. So says Paul Godsmark, a robocar consultant and one of the leading experts on the upcoming autonomous vehicle revolution.

In this fascinating interview, Godsmark talks about the enormous changes that are coming up fast with self-driving vehicles, including Project Titan, the rumored Apple Car.

Buckle up! Everything is about to change dramatically — from the way we travel to the way we work.

4 lessons Apple Car should learn from Tesla

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Tesla
If Apple really is making a car, it should take some cues from Tesla.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

With all the recent rumors that Apple will build an electric car within the next few years, obviously Cupertino is going to be compared to the big electric car company of the moment, Tesla Motors.

Tesla sold more than 50,000 model S sedans in 2015, so I’m taking a look at four Apple Car lessons that Tim Cook and Jony Ive should learn from Tesla.

Check out the video below.

Kia pledges to fully automate all vehicles by 2030

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Kia's concept for a fully autonomous car, which we'll all NOT be driving in 2030. Plus, we'll all be living in gleaming Sky Discs.
Kia's concept for a fully autonomous car, which we'll all NOT be driving in 2030. Plus, we'll all be living in gleaming Sky Discs.
Photo: Kia

Cult of Mac CES 2016 full coverage LAS VEGAS — It’s not gadgets that are making the news here at CES 2016, but cars.

For example, at a press event this afternoon the Korean car giant Kia said all of its cars will be fully autonomous by 2030. Not just its high-end vehicles — all the cars it makes. And that’s just 14 years away.

That means you be able to curl up in the back and sleep while the robot drives — or not be in the car at all. It’ll drive itself to the airport to pick you up.

Kia is joined by dozens of other companies with futuristic visions of the car. Both Detroit and Silicon Valley are here at CES 2016 to talk up future cars, which are mostly electric and autonomous. It includes Ford, VW, Toyota and lots of others.

It’s all good news for Apple, which is widely believed to be working on its own car.

Meet the Mercedes tech guru who defected to Apple

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Johann_Jungwirth Credit: Merceds Benz http://next.mercedes-benz.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/PUX_Vorschau.jpg
Johann Jungwirth used to head up Mercedes' R&D lab in Silicon Valley. He now works for Apple on Mac systems engineering. Yeah right. Photo: Mercedes Benz

Johann Jungwirth is a new Apple employee with one of the world’s most unbelievable job titles.

Until the middle of last year, Jungwirth headed up the big Mercedes-Benz R&D facility in Silicon Valley that, among other things, is responsible for the futuristic self-driving car you see below. (The astonishing Mercedes F 015 is very real, BTW).

Jungwirth was hired by Apple last September and given the title of “Director of Mac Systems Engineering,” according to his LinkedIn page. The title appears to be total hogwash. Jungwirth spent his entire 20-year career working on connected cars, not computers.

Apple is famous for obfuscating about its new hires to throw off competitors and journalists, and the company is reportedly working on a top-secret electric car. If Apple is interested in the stuff Jungwirth has worked on, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Secret R&D facility suggests Apple might actually make a car

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Ford_021C_concept_car_Mark_Newson
Is Apple designing a car? Maybe that's the real reason it picked up designer Mark Newsom, who created this concept car for Ford in 1999. Credit: Mark Newsom/Ford

Apple has set up a top-secret automobile R&D lab and is recruiting experts to possibly build a car, the Financial Times reports.

The lab is in a secret location away from Apple’s HQ. Apple recently hired the head of Mercedes-Benz’s Silicon Valley R&D unit, and has staffed the new lab with “experienced managers from its iPhone unit,” the Times says.

“Three months ago I would have said it was CarPlay,” said one of FT‘s sources. “Today I think it’s a car.”

Apple car? Cupertino’s got the design talent to transform another industry

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BMW_Gina_concept_car
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.