Buzz Around Apple Self-Driving Car

Taiwan Tech News Site DigiTimes reports that Apple is working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), on self-driving chip technology. Apple and TSMC have reportedly established plans for a factory to produce Apple Car chips in the USA and are currently negotiating with upstream and downstream supplies in the automotive electronics supply chain.

Digitimes also indicates that other car electronics suppliers have started sending samples to Apple for its smart car project.

Apple Insider indicates that Digitimes is usually accurate about supply chain news but has not always accurately predicted Apple’s future plans.

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has reported that an Apple self-driving Car could appear around 2023 and 2025.

It is unclear that Apple would be able to effectively compete with Tesla and others that are already active in building cars with various levels of self-driving capability.

SOURCES- Digitimes, Apple Insider
Written By Brian Wang,

19 thoughts on “Buzz Around Apple Self-Driving Car”

  1. Apple likes to leapfrog. Apple's LIDAR patent portfolio is impressive. Is there something there? Who knows.

    I'd be remiss in pointing out that Apple would have a hard time making cars reliably.

  2. Smart phones were on the market for several years before the first iPhone. The most famous being the Blackberry.
    But then Apple came in, repacked it to look cool and be easy to use, and so dominated the market that these days people can talk about Apple inventing the smartphone, and "being first".

  3. The wife totaled her 2014 ML 350 in October. She ended up with a new 2021 GLE 350. The dashboard is one long skinny iPad. Although not autonomous, It has stuff like lane assist (if you don't signal, it'll pull you back in the lane), blind spot warnings, braking assistance if you get too close to the car in front of you, self parking (parking assist), a bunch of stuff. Not self driving yet, but getting there.

    Apple? I think they missed the boat banging around in the garage in south bay. Tesla, Mercedez, Aptiv, everybody beat them to market. Doesn't have to be fully self driving; just good enough…

  4. Exactly. Self driving cars are not a silicone problem. A supercomputer is not ready to drive yet. It's a software/ML training problem.

  5. It's too late for Apple to invent the smartcar market, like it did with smartphones, because Tesla and others have already been doing that. But it's also a question of Apple finding a newer and less saturated market than the one it's already in, since there are now plenty of smartphones out there which can compete with Apple's flagship products. If there was big money to be made in smartphones, there's even bigger money to be made in smartcars. Apple's entry into the smartcar market would make a huge splash, and would spell the end of some of the legacy automotive giants, who would be sent into the dustbin.

  6. Apple can take advantage of custom Silicon because they can optimize it to their own very mature software. If they lacked their own software there would be nothing to optimize. This is the case with car operating systems and autonomy. They’ve got nothing to optimize and no platform to develop it.

  7. This is analogous to a completely new technology like the smartphone, where being first with iPhone and staying vertically integrated with it is the foundation of Apple’s success.

    Apple didn’t wait until Android phones had worked the bugs out.

    It’s as likely that Apple can succeed with a self driving car long after Tesla has dominated the market as it is that they can take over search from Google, eCommerce or cloud computing from Amazon, or social networks from Facebook. The pattern is the first to scale the technology continues to dominate.

    Self driving isn’t a minor feature on an existing product. It’s an entirely novel product, just as smartphones aren’t just a variant of feature phones.

  8. Apple is in a favorable position with TSMC due to all the iPhone chips being made, as well as the new ARM chips for their forthcoming desktop PC's. Tesla had to work a bit to get their custom chips for their self driving computer, but Apple has the pull to get a big run of chips. With some of their experience with ML accelerators for the iPhone, they may already have the necessary engineering chops to get a driving chip together with their existing teams as is. The problem for Apple is getting the training done for their ML. Tesla has a huge advantage due to their extant fleet providing training and feedback.

    But here's the thing, cars are a different world compared to conventional consumer electronics. Where is Apple going to find the Foxconn equivalent of a car maker to make their iCar? It would need to be a maker that is decently skilled, and subjectable to a subservient relationship. Plus they need experience with electric cars. Off the top of my head, I can only think of Nio and Nissan as candidates, Nio being a major chinese maker without a world brand, and Nissan being in a heavily disadvantaged state so they are open to manipulation.

  9. Seems more likely they'll just expand on their CarPlay products, adding car controls and self-driving for major car makers.

  10. Don't know that I'd so much want to root it, as sandbox it, with a big red button I can slam down to take over manually if it starts behaving suspiciously.

    "Huh. I said take me home – why am I being driven down a dark alley in the middle of an industrial zone?"

  11. Apple has been successful only as they are supported by the USA govt which has hindered the progress of some rivals (Samsung) and tried to kill others (HUAWEI).
    In 5 years China will rule and Apple will be dead.

    Just saying


  12. It is unclear that Apple would be able to effectively compete with Tesla and others that are already active in building cars with various levels of self-driving capability.

    Isn't this the standard Apple approach to all new technology?

    Come in years after everyone else has got most of the functional bugs worked out, put together a fairly standard tech package. Then package it in a way that appeals to all the people who were scared off by the more tech focused, early-adopter style products, and present it as a cool, fashionable, integrated, easy-to-use package with world class marketing to try to grab the top end, most profitable, 25% of the market.

    It mostly works too, with a few failures (AppleTV).

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