Apple will develop its own battery technology that could reduce cost and to offer an extend vehicle range
Apple, the makers of the iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and multiple accessories to support their tech products; has been reportedly eyeing to enter the automotive industry. The company will build self driving cars and is targeting launch sometime in 2024 as per a Reuters report.
For this purpose, Apple is developing its own battery technology. The batteries will not only be more economical but will also extend vehicle range by a significant extent. Not much is known about their car battery and its optimization.
But knowing Apple and their optimization levels, one can expect it to be surprisingly good. Apple recently shocked the tech world, when they doubled their laptop battery life per full charge, just with the introduction of M1 chip. Cars are completely different. But still, Apple is one of the leaders in battery optimization today.
The endeavour of Apple to enter the self driving car arena dates back to 2014 with ‘Project Titan’. The company designed its own vehicle from scratch but had to withdraw efforts to focus on software with the project being brought to a standstill in 2017. The aim is now to build a vehicle for consumer and produce self driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to introduce the passenger vehicle with its own breakthrough in battery technology.
With Apple not being any car manufacturer, there is a possibility that the company will rely on a manufacturing partner to build the Apple Car or it might just build the software and intelligence for the Apple self driving car and license this technology to partners more well versed with the automotive industry. With a target to introduce this autonomous vehicle by 2024, the current pandemic situation could push production operations to 2025 or even a few years ahead.
Making an autonomous vehicle could even pose a problem to a company like Apple. While they have sound knowledge in electronics, the company has never ventured into the automobile arena and it even took someone like Tesla’s Elon Musk 17 years to gain sustainable profit making cars.
Lidar Sensors and Monocell Design
Apple is currently in talks with lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor suppliers, apart from the ones which already supply lidar sensors for their new iPhone released this year. Lidar sensors will deliver real time, accurate 3-D view of the world around their car. This will help the car execute multiple autonomous functions. Apple is also developing its own lidar sensors and related technology.
The company is also mulling the chemistry for a battery called LFP – Lithium Iron Phosphate which is less likely to overheat and will hence be safer as against other types of lithium ion batteries. Also if Apple plans to use a monocell design, it will help to free up space inside the battery pack thus eliminating pouches and modules that hold individual battery material.
The Apple self driving car project is being overseen by the team engineers headed by John Giannandrea, Apple Head of Artificial Intelligence who also oversees voice based digital assistant ‘Siri’.