Just weeks ahead of the release of the Tesla Model X, it is ironic that excitement and news around the Apple Car is gaining momentum. Apple has long since been linked with the release of an electric vehicle, and it now seems that the consumer electronics giant is intending to construct a giant touchscreen windshield for the vehicle. This is the sort of innovation that one would associate with Apple, and a recent research note claims that this technology is already being developed.
Touchscreen windshield to dazzle motorists
The managing director of Global Equities Research has this week stated that Apple is developing a windshield that can be considered an entirely new device in its own right. This screen apparently derives some of its technology from existing tech utilized in airplane windshields, which is able to display driver information in the operator’s line of sight. It is proposed that this technology will make it easier for drivers to keep their eyes on the road while piloting their vehicles.
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Global Equities Research also suggested that the screen in the Apple Car will be controllable by gestures, and could be as wide as 50 inches. This is obviously significantly larger than any such device that Apple has produced recently, with the largest display in the iMac range weighing in at 27 inches. This would obviously pose manufacturing issues for the consumer electronics giant, but if one company is in a position to cope with such demands, it is surely the largest corporation by market value on the planet.
Certainly an electric car would be an extremely ambitious project for Apple, but the fundamentals of the company suggest that it would be in a strong position to respond to such a manufacturing challenge. Apple has probably the most effective supply chain in the world, and can also claim a job acceptance rate of 90 percent. With an ethos that has always been about taking on new and exciting projects, it seems that the Apple Car would fit perfectly into the overarching mentality of the corporation.
Apple Car leaks
Meanwhile, documents that emerged this week have suggested that Apple is indeed working on constructing a self-driving car in Silicon Valley. The corporation has already reached out for secure locations in order to test the proposed Apple Car in the San Francisco Bay area, and images have even suggested that its development is more advanced than was generally suspected.
According to a document obtained by the British newspaper The Guardian, engineers from Apple’s secretive Special Project group have been scouring testing locations for the Apple Car for some months. It seems that there was a meeting between the Apple hierarchy and the GoMentum Station in May. The GoMentum Station is not particularly well known by the general public, but it is a 2,100-acre former naval base near San Francisco currently being transformed into an ultra high-security testing ground for autonomous vehicles.
Correspondence was obtained by The Guardian under a public records right to request that quoted Apple engineer Frank Fearon. It seems that Fearon had communicated with the GoMentum Station with a view to requesting availability of the facility ahead of the testing of an Apple electric vehicle. Although the Apple Car is not named in any of the documents, it is almost impossible to conceive of any other possible explanation for attempting to hire this facility. It seems that Apple is still playing its cards close to chest even in private correspondence, but the existence and development of the Apple Car is now surely to be considered something of a certainty.
Aside from any clues from the consumer electronics giant on the existence of the Apple Car, it is also generally considered that the project would fit into the overall Image of the corporation. Apple has always attempted to push its green credentials, and an electric vehicle would be exactly the sort of product that would further advance this overall corporate branding.
The late CEO and founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, also built up the reputation of the corporation as a genuine innovator in the consumer electronics marketplace. Apple was always intended to be a company that produces new and exciting products, and an electric vehicle with the Apple badge would certainly be consistent with this notion.
Tesla has demonstrated that the electric cars can be an extremely profitable niche in the future by establishing itself as a major car manufacturer. And the massively favorable relationship between Tesla and Apple has left many to believe for some time that the consumer electronics powerhouse could turn its attention to producing an electric vehicle.
Apple Car challenges
However, despite the fact that Apple clearly has the potential to cope with such a massive project, there would still be challenges ahead for the Cupertino-based company. Apple has never taken on such a huge infrastructure project as manufacturing a major road vehicle, and this would certainly require its supply chain to be upgraded significantly. Additionally, Apple has previously declined to commit itself to major new device projects when particular complexity is involved, with the corporation having recently dampened down suggestions that it could manufacture a physical television set.
Nonetheless, an innovative Apple Car featuring a touchscreen windshield would seem to be the sort of exciting development in the field that could really kickstart electric vehicles as a mainstream technology. Although Tesla has been successful in shifting large numbers of electric vehicles, it would be fair to say that the electric car has not yet become a regular sight on roads around the world.
And recent news has also suggested that this niche is certainly hotting up. Audi has been linked with their production of an electric vehicle to rival the Tesla Model X this week, while Google, Tesla, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and several other car makers have been issued permits by the California department of motor vehicles to test self-driving cars.
An Apple Car could play a major role in an exciting future for the electric vehicle, and it now seems certain that the consumer electronics giant is working on such an innovative project.