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Apple plans self-driving car 'in 2024 with new battery technology'
Published on: 2020-12-23
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Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology, people familiar with the matter revealed.

The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.

Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, which has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service.

Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.

It remains unclear who would assemble an Apple-branded car, but sources have said they expect the company to rely on a manufacturing partner to build vehicles. And there is still a chance Apple will decide to reduce the scope of its efforts to an autonomous driving system that would be integrated with a car made by a traditional automaker, rather than the iPhone maker selling an Apple-branded car, one of the people added.

As for the car’s battery, Apple plans to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials, one of the people said.

Apple’s design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range.

Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.

苹果要出汽车了?

近日,据路透社消息,苹果公司正在推进自动驾驶汽车技术的研发,计划在2024年生产乘用车,而其中可能将包括苹果自己研发的突破性电池。

在2014年,苹果开始首次设计汽车,并将其称为“泰坦计划”(Project Titan)。

然而,在泰坦计划实施一段时间后,进展并不顺利。

于是,苹果曾一度想放弃汽车的研发,专注于手机软件。

2018年,曾任特斯拉工程部高级副总裁的道格•菲尔德(Doug Field)重返苹果公司,接手了汽车项目,才让泰坦计划得以继续。

在经过几年的苦心专研下,苹果的汽车计划终于取得了很好的进展。

近日,就有两名知情人士透露到:

目前,苹果正在计划打造一款面向大众市场的汽车,而汽车的战略核心就是苹果全新的电池设计,这个设计可以从根本上降低电池的成本,并增加车辆的续航里程。

并且,为了帮助自动驾驶汽车获得道路的三维视图,苹果可能还会为汽车配备激光雷达传感器。

不过,因为疫情,知情人士也表示,苹果汽车的生产或将推迟到2025年或更晚。

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