Volkswagen Transporter T6

Apple signs deal with Volkswagen to transport employees in autonomous vans

For some years now we have heard of Apple’s likely (de) involvement in the automotive world. The rumors, which previously stated that the company would be working on a autonomous car completely yours (both in software and in hardware), they were cooling down until you reached the statement by the CEO of Apple himself that they were “just working on a system for autonomous cars”.

Among some changes in the teams that were supposed to be working on something bigger, came what was called PAIL (Palo Alto to Infinite Loop), which would basically be an autonomous vehicle that would transport Apple employees across Silicon Valley.

So, it seems, now efforts would be concentrated on this vehicle, which would have an autonomous navigation system from Apple, but would use a commercial vehicle from some manufacturer. The big news now, revealed by New York Times, is that Apple’s partner manufacturer will be Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Transporter T6

Before closing this deal, however, it appears that Apple tried to approach other manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but the negotiations did not continue due to the fact that the company wanted to control both the data and the design of the project.

In recent years, Apple has sought partnerships with luxury manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz to develop a fully electric autonomous car […]. But again, recent conversations with these companies ended after each rejected Apple’s requirements to hand over control of data and design, some sources said.

Finally, Apple managed to get where it wanted with Volkswagen and, in the future, will use the vans T6 Transporter company, making the necessary modifications so that it serves as the autonomous vehicle to guide Apple employees around their campuses.

Some sources said that the PAIL project is already behind schedule and would be “consuming basically everyone” on Apple’s automotive team.

Lexus RX450h equipped to run the system for Apple's autonomous cars

In addition to PAIL, Apple already has more than 50 autonomous automobiles running on the streets of California and the company would also be talking to traffic officials.

Even if the plans are a little late, it is comforting to know that Apple is indeed following this path and that we will see something (even in a few years) being announced.

via 9to5Mac