Tencent technology news June 1st, apple is apparently restarting its internally titled “Project Titan”. The ultimate goal is no longer to develop automatic driving software, but to return to its original intention, that is, to build a complete electric automatic driving vehicle.
“Titan plan” has been gradually emerging since 2015, which should have allowed apple, led by Tim Cook, to enter the automotive industry. However, the project was scaled down and then gradually forgotten. In the past few years, Apple’s car building plan has been revised several times, and no exact product has been released.
Now, it seems that apple is restarting the Titan project, and is no longer simply developing autonomous driving software and selling it to a third party, but is more ambitious. Apple wants to develop a complete car.
Although Apple’s expertise in operating systems makes it a technology giant comparable to Microsoft or Oracle, it is a consumer oriented company in the first place. The price of Apple’s products is much higher than that of its competitors, and it is the unswerving support of loyal customers that is the key to the success of its products.
It should be noted that if Apple confines itself to the simple role of autopilot software supplier, Apple will not be able to directly contact with all this and may eventually give up the decisive part of its profits. So, whenever there is a chance, Apple will restore the Titan project to its original state.
Avoid Tesla’s “production hell”
Not long ago, it was reported that apple and Hyundai Motor Group of South Korea held talks on the manufacture of Apple cars. Although the talks ended in failure, they highlighted two messages: first, the talks confirmed that apple is still pushing forward its auto project; second, the talks confirmed that apple is still pushing forward its auto project; Second, Apple seems to be trying to avoid the “production hell” that Tesla encountered when it mass produced model 3. After all, car manufacturing is an industry full of obstacles and challenges.
For apple, outsourcing car production is obviously more meaningful. Over the years, Apple has entrusted Foxconn with the production of all its mobile phones and some of its iPads and Macs. Coincidentally, Foxconn has now become one of Apple’s most credible potential partners in the automotive sector after the collapse of Apple’s talks with Hyundai. Foxconn has more than 10 years of industrial partnership with apple and has a production network of more than 1 million employees. In October 2020, Foxconn launched a modular electric platform with a dedicated software architecture, which is similar in concept and technology to Volkswagen’s MEB platform.
As proof of its ambition, Foxconn and Geely set up a 50% joint venture in January 2020 to provide electric vehicle production and consulting services to third parties. More than ten years of partnership, building production capacity, accumulating professional knowledge and special company structure all help Foxconn to help Apple build cars. So it’s no surprise that the maker of iPhones and playstations turned to Apple cars.
However, Foxconn is not the only company that can establish a manufacturing relationship with apple. As early as 2014, when Apple decided to explore the possibility of setting foot in the automobile industry, it began to contact with the old companies in the industry, such as magna, a Canadian automobile supplier. In fact, Magna was the first target of Apple’s Titan project, but when Apple decided to limit itself to the “software development” project, the two sides lost the basis for cooperation.
Now, Magna seems to be taking a more aggressive approach to attract apple. On the one hand, the company has set up a joint venture with LG to produce powertrain systems for electric vehicles. On the other hand, Magna has expanded its production capacity in China by focusing on manufacturing zero emission vehicles. Now, given these developments, there seems to be no better car building partner for apple than magna.
Or lithium iron phosphate battery
Details of Apple’s car have yet to be released, and its debut is a long way off. Many people expect that Apple motor is expected to be released in 2024, but it will seem rather unreasonable to consider that L4 driving long time will take longer. Others are betting on a longer time frame, claiming that Apple may make its debut in 2027. Most tend to think that Apple may come between these two time frames, and 2025 is more likely.
According to the available information, Apple’s battery trial has attracted a lot of interest. Many sources said that Apple cars will use lithium iron phosphate batteries instead of traditional nickel cobalt manganese ternary lithium batteries. It’s really an interesting solution. Apple seems to have chosen something that not only reduces project costs, but also has other advantages, such as stronger anti overheating ability.
However, in the process of developing lithium iron phosphate battery, Apple will never fight alone, and Volkswagen Group has decided to rely on this technology to develop small electric vehicles. At the same time, other companies have also shown great confidence in LiFePO4 batteries, including BYD and Tesla, which have started to equip these types of batteries for cars launched in the Chinese market. The model 2, which mainly uses LiFePO4 battery, is more compact and affordable than model 3.
Automatic driving technology has made rapid progress
Since the beginning of testing, Apple’s automatic driving technology has made great progress. At the same time, the company’s test model also changed shape. Over time, Apple’s future autopilot (L4 level automatic driving) has evolved into a mattress like structure on the roof (hence the name “mattress car”). Aside from the ironic nickname, the numbers surrounding the car show how fast it has developed. With Apple’s automatic driving technology, the automatic driving mileage of cars will increase from 12140 km in 2019 to 30264 km in 2020“ The “disengagement” distance has been extended to 232 km, compared with 189 km in 2019.
But the process of developing cars is full of challenges. Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, himself disclosed that when he fell into the “production hell” of model 3 in 2017, he sought to sell Tesla to apple for 1 / 10 of the value at that time, but cook did not accept the invitation to meet him. In 2015, when Apple began recruiting engineers and many people left Tesla, musk said, “apple is Tesla’s graveyard: if you can’t work here, work for them.”
In December 21, 2020, media reports reported that Apple decided to restore the scope of the Titan plan to its original and more ambitious form, namely the development of a complete electric autopilot. It’s the first update since last year, when Doug field, the project leader, fired 190 employees from the team. The news inevitably spread all over the world, producing a domino effect. First, it made the shares of modern company soar, then plummet, and created countless assumptions about Apple’s partners. But not everyone has the opportunity to fight with apple（ Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)