Secret Apple Lab Could Be in Charge of Essential Apple Car System

We've known for a while that Apple was developing a vehicle, but the company has remained completely tight-lipped on almost everything related to this project.
Apple Car could debut in 2025 10 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Apple
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On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that certain information doesn’t make its way to the web. Unofficial sources and people familiar with the project revealed on several occasions that Apple had been making progress on the Apple Car development, though more complex specifics continue to be unclear.

A new recent report reveals one of the reasons why the Apple Car continues to be such a mysterious project for the Cupertino-based tech giant.

As it turns out, a research lab in Switzerland is where Apple is developing the autonomous system for the Apple Car alongside other next-generation products.

Referred to as the Zurich Vision Lab, the facility is believed to be in charge of developing products based on computer vision, machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous system. Teams at this center have been working on certain products for at least four years, but no information has so far leaked to the web.

Apple is already operating several international research labs, but the company has allegedly enforced draconic security measures to prevent information leaks. This explains why this is the first time we hear about the Zurich facility despite teams there working on revolutionary products for at least half of a decade.

Now the big question is what autonomous systems actually mean. However, sources close to the matter have been quoted as saying that they don’t come down just to cars. Apple is apparently interested in investing massively in everything that can work autonomously, including not only cars but also smart platforms to automize certain operations. This long-term strategy makes perfect sense when looking at the other technologies developed at the Zurich-based lab, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Apple Car renderings
Photo: Vanarama

The ambitious Apple Car project

Obviously, given the highly sensitive nature of the information, we're not getting any new details on the Apple Car.

But based on details that previously leaked to the web, we shouldn’t expect the vehicle to see daylight earlier than 2025. Most recently, people allegedly close to the project suggested that Apple could delay the release because it's not necessarily satisfied with the innovative approach of the project.

Apple Car is supposed to be a revolutionary vehicle from one end to another, but as it turns out, certain technology isn't ready just yet. As such, the iPhone maker might turn to plan B, which comes down to launching the Apple Car with a more conventional approach.

Apple originally wanted the Apple Car to be a living room on wheels and full self-driving capabilities. In theory, Apple's vehicle wasn’t supposed to feature a steering wheel and pedals, thus offering fully autonomous driving on any road. However, it appears these revolutionary systems still need additional polishing, and as such, Apple wants to stick with a more conventional design that includes a regular cabin similar to what you can find today on the cars already on the road. In other words, the Apple Car will almost certainly feature a steering wheel and pedals, with self-driving capabilities to be activated only on specific roads, such as highways.

Apple Car renderings
Photo: Vanarama
On the other hand, Apple is unlikely to give up on its dream of changing the car concept. The company still wants to create a living room on wheels, and chances are a major overhaul of its first Apple Car lands by the end of the decade. The second-generation Apple Car could debut by 2030 with a revolutionary design, both inside and outside, and a full focus on technology.

Apple originally wanted to partner with a traditional carmaker specifically to handle the production process, but after failed negotiations, the company decided to turn to a contract manufacturer, most likely Foxconn. Hyundai was the carmaker most likely to build the Apple Car, but the American tech giant eventually dropped the talks after the South Korean carmaker spilled the beans on the project.

The project is still in the works at this point, but given Apple tries to keep everything away from our eyes and ears, the company could always change essential plans overnight without telling anyone. People familiar with the matter said an official announcement could be made this year, but no confirmation exists on this front anyway.

If the new report is true, then Apple's ambitions for the automotive market could put the tech giant at the forefront of the car revolution based on smart technology. Traditional carmakers are expected to follow in its footsteps, though for Apple, it's critical to avoid being late to the party. This means the Apple Car should be here by 2025, as other big names, including Xiaomi, are already investing massively in self-driving vehicles that could jump-start the automotive strategy that Apple itself is planning to pioneer.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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