The iCar is just a concept at the moment, but if Apple pursues this they just may have the consumer trust level needed to begin the process of autonomous vehicle adoption. Of course this assumes that Apple will be able to solve the remaining unsolved autonomy issues that have forced all of the other AV startups to pivot into other markets. Successfully developing AVs is not simply a matter of hiring people and giving them a blank check. These problems are in the medical research category where no one knows when they will be solved, regardless of the available budget.
And this does not address the consumer resistance to riding in an autonomous vehicle at highway speed, but if any company in the world has the trust of the consumer needed to overcome the societal issues it is Apple. There are 2.5 million people that die in automotive accidents each year worldwide, with nearly 40,000 in the U.S. If we were starting from scratch with the introduction of AVs then it could be argued that if we reduce the fatalities by 20, 30 or 40 percent that it is acceptable to have tens of thousands, if not millions of deaths per year since we are saving a greater number of lives than we are losing, but as we have seen, even one death is one too many in the present paradigm.
Apple is working with Hyundai – Kia with plans to produce the vehicles in Georgia for sale in 2024. Hmmmm, it all depends on the level of autonomy that is going to be delivered. If we are talking Level 4 or 5 I don’t believe that is at all likely, technically. Will Apple be the breakthrough company? Time will tell, but unlike Elon Musk I know lidar will be a key component of the sensor systems on the iCar.
For a news story on the iCar CLICK HERE.
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