Apple has quietly signed an automotive deal with Volkswagen, according to sources that have surfaced, to develop self-driving vehicles for the company’s employees. The report claims that Apple wants to turn some of Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter vans into autonomous shuttles for Apple workers, a project that is supposedly monopolizing most of the company’s automotive team.
Volkswagen wasn’t Apple’s first choice, according to the sources who spoke with the New York Times. The company has reportedly approached luxury automakers Mercedes-Benz and BMW multiple times over an autonomous EV, but sources claim the car companies repeatedly turned Apple away.
The reason, they go on to claim, was Apple’s alleged desire for control over both design and data. As such, Apple was “forced” to settle for Volkswagen, at least according to the report, in a project that the sources claim is behind schedule.
Apple’s automotive team is reportedly nearly completely consumed by the project, though additional details about distribution of work between it and VW weren’t provided. The sources don’t paint an optimistic picture of the project, claiming that the autonomous shuttle effort doesn’t have a “clear plan” beyond the vans.
Assuming the information is accurate, this would represent the latest development on Apple’s self-driving car plans, once grand but now struggling to catch up to the rest of the industry. Neither Apple nor Volkswagen have commented on the report.
SOURCE: New York Times