Update: Apple has reportedly brought Ford veteran Desi Ujkashevic on board, suggesting Apple Car development might be back on track.
The much-rumored Apple Car electric vehicle looks to be getting ever closer to reality with this latest report. Apple is reportedly working with a South Korean firm that specializes in building and testing the semiconductors required for cars to have self-driving capabilities.
According to a new report by TheElec, Apple began working with an Outsourced Semiconductor Assembly and Test company (OSAT) last year. The expectation is that the project will be completed at some point next year.
The pair have been working on the chip modules and packages required to make a future Apple Car drive itself. Although the report says that it’s supposedly similar to Tesla's Autopilot feature, which is not a truly autonomous self-driving system.
The report goes on to say that such chips, which oversee AI computations, usually integrate a neural processing unit, CPU, GPU, memory as well as camera interface among other functions.” So it’s pretty important.
The overall project is thought to be led by a South Korean Apple office. The outfit has reportedly been given the bill of material (BOM) rights for the project and essentially told to find a local company to get the ball rolling.
Apple's use of OSAT firms isn't anything new, however. A similar arrangement was put in place during the development of the M1 Apple Silicon chip, the report notes, with Chinese and US firms used on that occasion.
Apple's use of external help isn't even new to the Apple Car project, either — the company previously sounded out Hyundai and other carmakers in an attempt to find a company willing to help build what is sure to be an impressive EV.
The Apple Car project is one that has taken many twists and turns in recent years. Known internally as Project Titan, the team behind the car has gone through multiple transformations. With managers coming and going through what appears to be a revolving door from the outside, hemorrhaging talent all too frequently.
While little concrete information is known, Apple watchers and analysts have previously pointed to a potential 2025 launch at the earliest. Although given all the issues Apple has faced the past year or so, we wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking this may be a little too optimistic.
As an aside, check out our guide on whether you should buy or lease a car.