The report claims that Taiwanese manufacturers are preparing to ramp up for production of “Apple Car” components as early as the second quarter of next year, adding that Apple has been secretly testing dozens of prototype vehicles on the road in California.
Apple received a permit from California’s DMV to test self-driving vehicles in 2017, and it was spotted using Lexus SUVs rigged with LiDAR equipment that year.
While many sources have claimed the Apple Car will be released between 2023 and 2025, including analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the report cites an unnamed director at a major Taiwanese manufacturer who said Apple is targeting a September 2021 launch.
While anything is possible, the earlier timeframe is questionable, especially due to the impact of the pandemic. Earlier this month, a DigiTimes report claimed that Apple was in “preliminary” negotiations with automotive electronics suppliers, suggesting that its vehicle project still remains in the fairly early stages. The report added that Apple’s chipmaking partner TSMC is reportedly working with Apple on a “self-driving chip.”
Over the years, reports have flip flopped on whether Apple is developing a full-fledged vehicle or working on artificial intelligence and autonomous driving technologies for vehicles in general. Apple’s artificial intelligence chief John Giannandrea recently took over leadership of the project, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.