The tech giant wants to get to Level 5 autonomous driving first.
Apple's main goal might have been to create as many different and difficult ways to charge an electronic device as possible, but these days, it's also interested in building cars. Up until now, it hasn't been very successful at retaining partners, but automakers are secretly scared of the electronics giant. Many still don't think that the company has what it takes to build cars, but recent talks with manufacturing behemoth Toyota might secure Apple a foot in the door, and now CJ Moore, a former engineer from Tesla has joined its ranks to assist on the new car effort. Moore will be working under Stuart Bowers, another ex-Tesla employee who led Tesla's Autopilot team up to 2019.
This is a bold move by Apple and shows its clear intent to develop self-driving technology, but all talk about Apple vehicles is still tightly under wraps. We might not know how far down the line Apple might be with its self-driving capabilities, but Moore has stated that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has overstated the true capabilities of Tesla's self-driving technology. In an interview with California Department of Motor Vehicles officials, Moore stated that Musk's dreams of launching full self-driving capability by the end of 2021 were unrealistic and that Musk's statements didn't "match engineering reality". One can't help but wonder what other former Tesla employees think of the company's claims.
Currently, vehicles such as the Tesla Model S and Model 3 run on a Level 2 autonomous driving system that requires the driver to keep his or her hands on the steering wheel at all times. Musk has been threatening the public with Level 5 autonomous driving for a while now, but it's still far off according to Moore. Apple has also enlisted the help of Urlich Kranz, former CEO of autonomous car company Canoo, and other ex-Tesla executives such as drivetrains chief Michael Schwekutsch and interiors head Steve MacManus. With a team stacked with former Tesla employees, it will be interesting to see what progress Apple makes in its conquest for autonomy.