Apple stays quiet about it, but the company is clearly developing a self-driving car. And this week the world was given a glimpse inside this project, showing that it’s much larger than many had previously thought.
The FBI arrested a former employee on Apple’s autonomous car design team for allegedly downloading proprietary information and attempting take it to a rival car company in China. The resulting documentation reveals the number of employees on the project.
Bad drivers may soon get some crucial tips on the road from Apple, if the company’s latest patent ever becomes a reality.
While everyone in tech is working on driverless car systems, it appears that Apple is looking into ways to make it safer for humans to get behind the wheel too. Apple filed for a patent this week that envisions an augmented reality system for cars that shows drivers more of what’s ahead of them than they can see with their naked eyes. And it could totally change the way we drive.
Some new data-gathering vehicles are roaming the streets of San Francisco. They’re unmarked, but are suspected to be Apple’s. They are laden with sensors, but what kind of data are they gathering, and what for?
Experts contacted by Cult of Mac say the mystery vans are next-generation mapping vehicles capable of capturing VR-style, 360-degree street photos. Plus, the vans use Lidar to create extraordinarily precise “point clouds,” a prerequisite for self-driving cars. Mesh those two databases together and you’ve laid the groundwork for an autonomous vehicle’s navigation system.
Chevrolet has a concept car that looks like something Bat Man would drive. Except he wouldn’t drive it the scene of the crime. The car would drive him.
The FNR concept is a self-driving car that may never see the light of day. But for that day to come, developers must dream, and Chevy has put forth a beautifully imagined vehicle that could nudge the future in a certain direction.
The nudging began this week at the Shangai Motor Show, where General Motors showed off its idea of an autonomous electric vehicle. The FNR likely drew more oohs and awes than the new Malibu that also debuted at the show.
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.