Apple Car Launch Delayed to 2028; to Arrive With Limited Self-Driving Capabilities: Report

Apple has reportedly modified its plans to build an electric vehicle (EV) as the company scales back its ambitions for its first car. While the iPhone maker was previously expected to develop and launch a ‘driverless’ car similar to Tesla’s vehicles, it will now focus on launching an EV with a few connected car features, according to a report. As the company faces new challenges, the launch date for its first vehicle is also said to be delayed by another two years.

Citing people with knowledge of the project, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s project to build its own car — bearing internal names like Titan and T172 — started nearly a decade ago, but the car is unlikely to be launched before 2028. Apple’s board reportedly pressured the company after millions of dollars were spent in research and development for hardware and software, without a prototype, according to the report. 

Apple has also reportedly scaled back its ambitions to launch a self-driving car at Level 5 (Full automation) — the most advanced form of automated driving envisioned by experts — to Level 4 (Fully automated driving) and finally settling on Level 2+ (Partly automated driving). Level 2 is what other carmakers such as Tesla currently offer via its Autopilot feature.

This means that if Apple is able to launch its EV by 2028, the vehicle can be expected to offer similar functionality as Tesla’s Autopilot mode that requires drivers to be seated and keep monitoring the road, so that they can take control of the vehicle at a moment’s notice.

However, it is currently unclear whether Apple will be able to launch its first electric car within the next four years. The purported deadline has already slipped by two years to 2028, despite a change in plans to reduce the autonomy of the vehicle. Meanwhile, Chinese rival Xiaomi unveiled its first EV last month — the SU7 electric car. Xiaomi Chief Executive Lei Jun said during the car’s launch event in December that the firm plans to become one of the world’s top 5 automakers.

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