Despite many rumors and reports that work has been going on for years in the middle of several setbacks, the Apple Car is still a mystery. However, a new job posting at Apple may have just confirmed one of the main rumored features.
Apple is currently hiring a “radar test engineer” who is supposed to work on “autonomous systems”. This would suggest that there is some truth to the rumors that the Apple Car will be some sort of self-driving vehicle.
According to the list, the radar test engineer will join Apple’s Sensors team, which “is developing new radar technologies for use in stand-alone systems.” It is also preferable that candidates have “experience in controlling and automating robotics”.
Unfortunately, the job description doesn’t reveal much information about Apple’s car plans or the progress of development, although it does suggest that the Apple car is still in development. After all, unless Apple plans some sort of radar sensor in a future iPhone or iPad, like the Pixel 4’s Soli chip, it’s pretty obvious that this rental will eventually work on systems intended for the Apple Car.
Even if full range rumors aren’t true, Apple would be foolish to launch an electric car without some level of autonomous driving. Radar is an obvious way to do this.
Radar is a fairly common feature in modern cars, and it’s used in autonomous driving systems that are already on the road. Its inclusion allows a car to sense and track objects around it, which is an aspect important enough to let a vehicle do some of the driving work.
Even the most basic level one autonomous driving systems, like Adaptive Cruise Control, require a method of “seeing” what is around the car, both for safety and functionality. Radar, which has been around since before WWII, is the obvious choice and is used by most manufacturers. Even Tesla, which can seem a bit against the grain at times, has used radar in autopilot – although the newer Model 3 and Y have done away with this in favor of an optical camera-centric system.
What stage is the Apple Car at?
The Apple Car project has apparently been in development for years and appears to have suffered several setbacks. It’s not particularly surprising: Not only is entering the automotive world a big step for a company that focuses on personal computing, there have also been several reports claiming that Apple did not received a particularly positive reception from the automotive industry as a whole.
In fact, there have been rumors that automakers are worried about partnering with Apple because they don’t want to cede control of the project and become “the Foxconn of the auto industry” – a reference to the most famous company for assembling the iphone.
Hyundai, for example, was said to have initially been in talks to manufacture the Apple car, but it was later reported that it wanted to cede those responsibilities to the Kia subsidiary. This deal was then reportedly collapsed after news of the talks leaked.
Likewise, Apple reportedly faced delays in negotiations with battery suppliers, as one of its conditions was that all Apple Car batteries must be made in the United States – and not somewhere like China. More recently he lost Doug Field, a veteran of the automotive industry who was said to have been responsible for the development of Apple Car, at Ford.
Another report, this time from Korea, claimed that Apple was shifting its strategy towards manage Apple Car production alone, in order to avoid further delays. Obviously, this tactic will force Apple to hire more experienced workers and engineers, rather than building on existing teams that an auto industry partner already has.
Rumors about when the Apple car might go on sale have been everywhere, and Apple is not one to comment on the speculation. Several reports have mentioned 2024 as a possible launch date, although others have said the car is unlikely to arrive until 2025 or 2026 at the earliest – an opinion would have shared by Apple employees working on the project.
With Apple being so secretive, it’s impossible to say for sure what’s going on. What we seem to know is that the Apple Car has suffered several major setbacks, but it appears to be still in active development. It may still be a while before you learn something more concrete, but after all this time, it should at least be worth the wait.