Following a South Korean publication's report of a multi-million deal between Apple and Hyundai-Kia , CNBC claims that the first generation of Apple Cars will be autonomous.
One source with knowledge of the current plan says "the first Apple Cars will not be designed to have a driver" and they will be "autonomous, electric vehicles designed to operate without a driver and focused on the last mile." CNBC believes the Apple Cars could be used to deliver food packages or be operated by firms as robotaxis.
Other sources familiar with the talks between Apple and Hyundai-Kia said no agreement has been reached between the two companies and there is a possibility that Apple may partner with more than one automaker. However, the sources agree that there are mutual benefits for both companies to work together.
Apple is eyeing the mobility market which is currently valued at $10 trillion (S$13 trillion). By working with an automaker to build the Apple Car, it only needs to capture a small percentage of the market to be the size of the iPhone business.
For Hyundai-Kia, Apple's vision of autonomous vehicles is in line with its new chairman's vision of mobility being the future of the company. The collaboration will speed up development of Hyundai-Kia's own autonomous and electric vehicle plans.
The Apple Car is tentatively scheduled to into production in 2024 although the rollout could be delayed further. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo expects the Apple Car to be launched in 2025 at the earliest.
This article was first published in Hardware Zone.