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Jun 22, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Apple partnering with Volkswagen to make self-driving shuttles

Apple has turned to Volkswagen for help with a self-driving shuttle project that will link its facilities in California. The partnership will see the German carmaker provide the US giant with T6 Transporter vans for their subsequent customisation.

 

Several years on from the launch of its Titan project, it would seem that Apple has scaled down its ambitions in the booming self-driving market, with its programme currently consisting of nothing more than a shuttle service between the group’s headquarters and Palo Alto, as reported by Numerama.com.

Following the collapse of negotiations with Mercedes and BMW, the Cupertino-based firm has turned to another German automaker in Volkswagen for the supply of T6 Transporter vans.

 

Volkswagen vans customised with sensors

 

According to The New York Times, the two companies reached an agreement in late 2017 and are working together in a lab near Turin. The chassis and wheel of the T6 vans will remain the same, while Apple will replace the seats and the dashboard, which as Numérama.com reported, is hardly in keeping with Donald’s Trump’s “America First” policy.

Apple will customise the vans by fitting them with sensors, computers and a large electric battery. Famed for its attention to detail when it comes to the design of its products, Apple has yet to release an information on what its future shuttles will look like.

 

Focus on software development

 

The Titan project aside, Apple seems to be reviewing its self-driving plans. According to Numerama, the company looks poised to devote its energies solely to software development. This would mark a significant shift from last summer, when Apple CEO Tim Cook said they were focusing on self-driving systems, which he described as a key technology of vital importance to the company.

Apple is currently testing that technology on the roads of California, in the shape of a number of prototypes. According to May 2018 figures, a fleet of 55 self-driving cars is criss-crossing the US state. Though Tesla and Waymo have smaller fleets, they possess greater experience, having had their cars on the road for longer.

 

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