Apple puts a date on its Apple Car, Chinese tech giants not far behind

Wendy Tang

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 6.10.53 PM

Apple is rumored to be speeding up its Apple Car project and has reportedly set a shipment date for 2019 reports the Wall Street Journal.

Following earlier reports from February that Apple was building an electrical vehicle said to resemble a minivan, executives in charge of the Apple Car project, codenamed “Titan,” have been given permission to triple their staff from 600 to 1,800.

Though it has been reported that Apple has hired many self-driving car specialists, the first generation Apple Car will not be autonomous with Apple intending to work towards building its first self-driving car as a long-term goal.

Apple intends to leverage its iPhone technology to further develop its electric cars hoping to contribute improvements in car batteries, sensors and smart hardware.

Former General Motors Vice Chairman, Bob Lutz, told CNBC on Monday that Apple would burn through cash if it entered the electric car business.

He told CNBC that producing electric cars was generally a money loser.

“There is absolutely no reason to assume that Apple is going to be financially successful in the electric car business,” Lutz said.

In China, the three Internet giants: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent all have made moves into smart car development through investing in partnerships.

Alibaba and Chinese state-owned automobile company, SAIC Motor, signed an “Internet Car” agreement last year, aiming to not only integrate Alibaba’s YunOS operating system, big data and cloud computing technologies into SAIC’s cars, but also to produce their own “Internet Car” in the long term.

In addition to its cooperation with BMW in developing its own autonomous car, Baidu has just released four major smart car software packages this month. Baidu’s new software includes an in-car networking and multimedia platform that will provide navigation as well as location-based services based around Baidu Maps.

(Photo from Apple’s website)

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