A car is just an iPhone with four wheels. If we can make an iPhone, why can't we make an electric car?
Guo Taiming, founder of Foxconn's parent company Hon Hai Group, expressed this view on many occasions.
But I think that this sentence may be more appropriate for Apple.
It's no secret that Apple intends to get involved in the automotive field. As early as 2014, they started a car-making project-Project Titan. In its heyday, Apple had more than 1,000 experts and engineers involved.
But several years have passed. Apart from the car-machine system CarPlay, all we can see are some invented and unmarginal renderings.
▲I believe everyone is bored with this rendering
To figure out what kind of car Apple wants to build, it is obviously impossible to catch the wind. Can we use Apple's existing car-related patents to try to piece together the appearance of the "Apple Car"?
The car experts at Vanarama, a British car rental company, recently completed this task.
Apple Car does not necessarily look like this, but it is the most reasonable
Vanarama’s Apple Car is based on Apple’s existing patents. Of course, it also needs a little bit of imagination.
Seeing it, you may first notice its column-free structure-the A and B columns disappeared. The patent US10309132B1 shows that Apple is more concerned about the integration of the front gear and the side gear. The benefits of this are self-evident. In addition to good-looking, it is good-looking. As for safety, let Apple worry about it. They are the ones who want to build the car.
The exterior of this Apple Car also uses the automatic door in the patent US10384519B1, and uses the popular hidden door handle. According to Vanarama, the door handle is inspired by the side buttons of the iPhone.
Presumably you have also noticed that the China grid under the headlight group also borrowed from the Mac Pro design.
▲Unique cooling holes on Mac Pro
Walking into the car, the large screens running through the left and right of the center console immediately reminded me of the Mercedes-Benz EQS. The difference is that this huge center control is not made up of three screens, but is genuine. A whole large screen, patent US20200214148A1 allows Apple to do so.
If you look closely, you can also see temperature controls, maps, multimedia components, and Siri animations, just like an evolved version of CarPlay-this comes from the patent EP2581248B1.
Vanarama also placed a display in the center of the steering wheel, which is an intelligent assistant in the patent JP2020173835A, which can monitor the road and cab conditions in real time, and promptly remind the driver before an accident occurs.
▲Finally, let's take a look at 360° without dead ends
Seeing this, you may think: How can Apple cars look like this?
It is true that Apple’s early patents rarely reveal the actual appearance of the product, but none of us has seen it before, have we? Before the Apple Car really came out, each of us had an Apple Car of our own.
But perhaps the above one is the most reliable and reasonable at present.
What has Apple been doing in the past few years when building cars?
The answer is to shake people.
When the car-building project was approved, Apple's car-building team had about 200 people, and their goal was to expand the team to 1,000 people.
Beginning in 2015, Apple began to look for talents everywhere, whether it was car giants from Ford, Volkswagen, and Tesla, or technical talents focusing on battery technology and autonomous driving systems, Apple would not refuse them all.
From Tesla, Apple dug up:
- Chris Porritt, Vice President and Chief Engineer
- David Nelson, Head of Mechanical Engineering
- Powertrain Senior Test Engineer John Ireland
- Chief Personnel Manager Lauren Ciminera
- Jamie Carlson, Autonomous Driving Firmware Expert
- CNC programming expert David Masiukiewicz
- Interior and exterior designer Steve MacManus
They are all leaders in the automotive industry. Among them, Porritt has been immersed in the automotive industry for decades. Before joining Tesla, he worked for Land Rover and Aston Martin as the chief engineer of the One-77 project.
▲Chris Porritt, picture from: Electrek
In addition to Tesla, Apple is also very diligent in digging in other places, such as Ford's body structure engineers Todd Gray and Aindrea Campbell, Chrysler senior vice president Doug Betts, Volkswagen engineer Megan McClain; in the field of autonomous driving, Apple also digs NVIDIA deep learning expert Jonathan Cohen and Waymo system engineering director Jaime Waydo.
In 2016, after Bob Mansfied, the former senior vice president of Apple hardware, took over the "Project Titan", he recruited Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX, from BlackBerry. The latter brought more than 20 former BlackBerry employees to be responsible for the development of the autonomous driving system.
Until 2020, Apple hired BMW vehicle engineer Jonathan Sive, Porsche executive Manfred Harrer, and former BMW executive Ulrich Kranz who was responsible for the i3 and i8 projects. During this period, Apple’s digging action never stopped.
▲Former BMW executive Ulrich Kranz, picture from: Motor Authority
Enough people are recruited, and something has to be done.
In 2017, Apple obtained the Autonomous Driving Road Test License from the California Department of Vehicles, and obtained a batch of Lexus RX450h from the car rental company Hertz, installed LIDAR and various sensors, and began testing on California roads.
▲Picture from: MacRumors
That year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with reporters:
We regard autonomous driving technology as a core technology and will focus on it. We even believe that autonomous driving technology is the mother of all AI projects, and this system may be one of the most difficult AI projects we have ever developed.
In addition to "shaking people", Apple has to "find a factory"
▲Kia factory located in Georgia, USA, picture from: Bloomberg
In February of this year, CNBC reported that “Project Titan” will soon usher in a new partner, Hyundai-Kia Group. Its component supplier Hyundai Mosby will be responsible for the design and mass production of some parts of Apple cars. , Kia will also provide a vehicle production line in the United States.
In addition, Tianfeng International analyst Ming-Chi Guo also revealed that Apple's first model will be based on Hyundai's E-GMP pure electric platform, and Apple has even specially prepared a high-performance version.
▲Modern E-GMP platform, picture from: HYUNDAI-KIA
But this cooperation ushered in a big reversal only a week later.
On February 8, Hyundai Motor stated that it had not negotiated with Apple on the development of self-driving cars.
Obviously, the two talks fell apart.
Later, Apple had contact with Nissan, but the two sides did not create any sparks.
▲Picture from: Getty Images
There may only be two roads left for Apples that are hitting the wall:
One is to find "old friend" Foxconn, which only yesterday acquired an electric car company Lordstown Motors' car factory in Ohio, which originally belonged to General Motors.
The second is to build our own factories and rely on ourselves.
According to the Korea Times , Apple may reach a cooperation with LG Magna e-Powertrain, which will be responsible for the production of motors, inverters, on-board chargers and electronic drive systems for Apple cars. After the two parties reach an agreement, they will jointly determine the production-related details of Apple cars and launch a prototype car in 2024.
▲Picture from: LG
Why does Apple need to build a car
According to Yahoo analysts, Apple’s sales in fiscal year 2022 will only grow by 4% due to the slowdown in mobile phone shipments. In fact, the global mobile phone market has been saturated in 2014, and behind Apple's soaring market value, 60-70% is contributed by the mobile phone business.
Therefore, the Silicon Valley giant must find a new growth point, and the automotive market is a good choice.
But it should be noted that Apple may not focus on cars, but the ecology brought by cars. When Apple’s automotive platform is combined with the extensive services provided by its mobile devices, Apple Car will become the hub of the entire Apple ecosystem like the iPhone. .
In 2015, Tony Fadell, the former senior vice president of Apple, said in an interview:
A car needs batteries, computers, motors, and of course mechanical structures. If you look closely at the iPhone, it actually has the same thing, even a small motor.
#Welcome to follow Aifaner's official WeChat account: Aifaner (WeChat ID: ifanr), more exciting content will be provided to you as soon as possible.