Apple Inc. and German automaker Volkswagen AG agreed to work on creating self-driving shuttle vehicles for iPhone maker’s employees, The New York Times reported. Apple’s autonomous driving department is reportedly planning to convert Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter vans into autonomous shuttles that would transport employees between the two Cupertino campuses. However, the whole project is behind schedule, as one of the employees told NYT that it will not be finished by the end of 2018, which is the current deadline.
The report noted that the move comes after tech giant’s efforts to partner up with high-end automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz on similar self-driving projects ended unsuccessfully, as Apple’s requested exclusive control of the data and design that would be used for the new vehicle. Contacts with Japanese Nissan and UK’s McLaren were also fruitless for similar reasons.
Apple already registered a fleet of 55 self-driving cars in California, making it the second largest such fleet in the state, after General Motors’ Cruise. State regulators gave the company permission to conduct self-driving tests on public roads with three retrofitted Lexus SUVs.
Since 2014, Apple’s had ambitions to produce an electric driverless car that would revolutionize the auto industry in a similar way that the iPhone did with cell phones, the NYT article added.