Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) has registered Apple.cars; Apple.car; and Apple.auto, as internet domains, according to MacRumors, which is a webpage that is recognized by the assertiveness of its rumors that are usually confirmed by Apple later. Sources seem to suggest that the domains that have not been activated yet, could be related to an autonomous vehicle developed by the company or probably to CarPlay, the Apple’s software for cars.
Rumors have been confident over the last months, when speculating about an electric autonomous car that is apparently being developed by Apple with the internal name “Project Titan.” Last year, it was confirmed that the company had added to its team several engineers and other car experts from brands such as Ford, GM, Samsung, A123 System, Nvidia and Tesla. Also, a startup called Electric Motorcycle had to end its operations since Apple recruited its employees.
The iPhone-maker has always been well-known for maintaining its products and developments in secret, and it always causes lots of expectation among consumers and media from around the world. The last product announced by the tech giant was the Apple Watch, which did not appear in pictures in mass media until the company unveiled it.
Referring to the recruitment of Tesla’s engineers by Apple, Elon Musk, chief executive officer at the electric car maker, declared that designing and building cars was a very difficult task and added that cars are very complex compared to phones or smartwatches, since they cannot be constructed in plants like Foxconn, the supplier which builds the products from Apple.
“They have hired people we’ve fired. We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple. I’m not kidding,” Elon Musk said to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, while he was in Berlin.
Last year, it was reported by AppleInsider that Apple was carrying the development of the Project Titan in a secret location in Sunnyvale, California, while hiding through a shell company to cover its operations. Experts have suggested that the Apple’s vehicle is going to be released by 2019 when other tech companies such as Google and Porsche are going to sell their electric models.
Yesterday, Apple shares closed under $100, since the world’s economy worried about the decrease of sales in China that are a consequence of recently-taken measures that affected the Chinese market. It is the first time in 15 months that shares from the company reached a similar amount.
It appears the competition of the electric self-driving cars segment is going to be huge. Alphabet Inc, the collection of companies that includes Google and Nest Labs, is leading the advances since its robot cars have been declared to be safer than normal ones. Other companies such as Toyota, Ford, and Uber are going to make bets to the segment that seeks to reduce car crashes caused by humans while using fuels, that are less harming for the environment.
Weeks ago, rumors appeared on the website Auto News, claiming that Google and Ford were in conversations in order to develop a self-driving car or a standard card equipped with sensors and computers. Both companies have been very secretive about the announcements, however, after the rumors were published Ford shares increased by 3.28%.
It was reported that Toyota has already more self-driving patents than any other car company. Gill Pratt, CEO at the Japanese company, said at the CES on Thursday, that artificial intelligence is important in the development of autonomous cars.
“We wish to enhance the safety of automobiles with the ultimate goal of creating a car that is incapable of causing a crash, regardless of the skill or condition of the driver. Most of what we have collectively accomplished with intelligent cars to date has been relatively easy because most driving is relatively easy. Where we need to help is not where driving is easy. We need to solve driving when it’s hard,” he added.
Another relevant thing that demonstrates the segment of self-driving cars is getting serious, is that regulators from California have already declared that regulations for the high-tech vehicles are going to be published. Among the first rules, it was affirmed that self-driving cars must have a steering wheel and they need to have a system that recognizes cyber attacks.