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Apple Car Reportedly Delayed until 2028, Self-Driving Level Limited

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Apple Car Reportedly Delayed (Again) until 2028Radovan Varićak/Motor Forecast
  • Apple's electric car has been gestating for about a decade, but Bloomberg reports the project has been delayed yet again, this time until 2028.

  • Originally planned to offer full self-driving (SAE Level 5), that has since been dialed back, with the autonomous system now reportedly limited to "Level 2+."

  • While Level 2+ is an informal category, it implies expanded SAE Level 2 functions; Apple reportedly wants to offer upgradeable SAE Level 4 self-driving in the future.

Apple Inc. definitely knows how to make iPhones and iPads, but when it comes to an iCar, well, the tech giant is apparently struggling to figure that one out.

Apple Car Delayed Again

Apple's ambitious plan to build a fully autonomous (i.e. self-driving) electric car dates back to 2014 when rumors first started to swirl. Fast forward about 10 years to the present day and we've yet to see so much as a prototype. If Apple does ever get around to building an EV, it will likely be a lot different than what was originally envisioned.

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A report yesterday by Bloomberg suggests the Apple car's debut has been pushed back yet again, as production is now slated for 2028 at the earliest. Several years ago, Reuters reported that Apple was targeting 2024 as the start of production. That was followed by another Bloomberg report a couple of years later that claimed production was delayed until 2026.

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MLADEN ANTONOV - Getty Images

Limited Self-Driving Level

The most recent Bloomberg report cites unnamed sources with "knowledge of the project," who also claim that Apple now plans to limit the level of self-driving capability. Initially, the company is said to have planned for a fully autonomous system, which is officially defined by the engineering group SAE International as Level 5.

Bloomberg previously reported that Apple decided to scale back that plan due to technology limitations and instead aim for SAE Level 4 capability, meaning it would only be fully autonomous on approved highways. The decision also meant the Apple car (a.k.a. Project Titan) would no longer be a sort of robotaxi without a steering wheel or pedals, as the company reportedly then planned to include those controls.

Now, it's expected that the Apple car will at first be limited to "Level 2+" autonomy, which isn't actually an official level as defined by SAE. Unofficially, it includes more features than an SAE Level 2 system, but it's similar to a lot of new vehicles that are currently in production. According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple wants its creation to imitate Tesla in some ways by building a car that's defined by its "sleek design, safety systems and unique user interface."

Bloomberg's sources also claim that Apple still wants to allow the car's self-driving system to be upgraded to Level 4 sometime after the initial launch. Obviously, the company needs to focus on actually building the EV first before worrying about what features it wants to offer in the future.

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