For some years now, we have heard of Apple's likely (dis) involvement in the automotive world. Rumors, which previously claimed that the company was working on a autonomous car completely yours (both in software and hardware), have been cooling down until Ma CEO's own statement came that they were "just working on a system for autonomous cars."
Among some changes in teams that were supposed to be working on something bigger came what was called PAIL (Palo Alto to Infinite Loop), which would basically be a standalone vehicle that would transport Apple employees through Silicon Valley.
So, by all accounts, efforts would now be concentrated on this vehicle, which would have a standalone Apple navigation system, but would use a commercial vehicle from some manufacturer. The big news now, revealed by the New York Times, that such Apple's partner manufacturer being Volkswagen.
Before closing this deal, however, it appears that Ma tried to approach other manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but negotiations did not proceed 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 to partner with luxury manufacturers BMW and Mercedes-Benz to develop a fully electric autonomous car (). But again, recent talks with these companies ended after each one rejected Apple's requirements to hand over data and design control, some sources say.
Finally, Apple managed to get where it wanted with Volkswagen and, in the future, use the vans T6 Transporter making the necessary modifications to serve as such a stand-alone vehicle to drive Ma employees around their campuses.
Some sources have stated that the PAIL project is already behind schedule and would be "basically consuming everyone" on Apple's automotive team.
In addition to PAIL, Ma already has more than 50 autonomous cars running on California streets, and the company would also be talking to traffic officers.
Even if the plans are a bit late, it is comforting to know that Apple is indeed following this path and that we will see something (even if in a few years) being announced.