VW Gets Order for Autonomous Vans from Apple

VW Gets Order for Autonomous Vans from Apple

VW Gets Order for Autonomous Vans from Apple

iPhone maker Apple is eager to invest in self-driving vans, and after much wrangling, it has settled on working with Volkswagen to fulfil its dreams of an autonomous future, according to the New York Times.

Initially, it looked like Apple would be going it alone, creating concept vehicles in-house which were able to operate without a human driver behind the wheel. But actually turning these early designs into viable vans which could be produced on a larger scale proved to be too difficult, which is why it decided to outsource a lot of the legwork to an established automaker.

Now the T6 Transporter will form the basis for the driverless vans that Apple is planning to use on its own Californian campus, with the vehicles set to act as minibuses that will drive employees from one building to another rather than having to make the journey on foot.

The partnership apparently got underway late last year, although it has only just been made public and has created a lot of discussion in the media about the nature of self-driving vehicle technology, the way it is being developed and the likelihood that it will revolutionise the automotive marketplace going forwards.

The versions of the Transporter which VW is adapting according to Apple’s specifications are not just going to be able to work autonomously but will also be powered by electricity rather than diesel engines. A facility in Italy is being used to develop these vehicles, although it seems that the Transporter is going to be used as little more than a framework upon which Apple will build its own vision of the van of the future.

Sources have claimed that the van’s interior will be completely customised by Apple, meaning that it will look very different from a standard Transporter model. Everything from the seating to the dashboard will be changed, presumably in part to add the tech firm’s own branding as well as to accommodate the fact that it will not need a steering wheel or any of the other controls usually found on board an LCV.

It is thought that even with its ability to operate autonomously, the Transporter adapted for Apple will still have a human operator on board, at least in the short term. This person will fulfil the role of ensuring that it works as intended and will presumably be able to take action to bring the van to a stop in an emergency.

The self-driving Transporter project should be ready to roll out over at Apple’s HQ in the US before the end of the year, or at least that is the schedule that the development team is aiming to meet at the moment. Some reports suggest that there have been a few delays in the process so far, which might mean that it takes a little longer to arrive than intended.

VW will also likely use the changes it has made to the Transporter to inform the vans it releases to the general market in the near future.

Categories: Volkswagen / Transporter /

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