Apple in Talks With Multiple Lidar Suppliers to Buy Sensors for its Self-driving Car
【Summary】Apple Inc. is reportedly in talks with multiple lidar developers to supply the perception sensors for its secretive "Apple Car" project, Bloomberg reports. Rather than develop complex hardware in-house, Apple is looking to outside vendors to supply components for its planned autonomous and electric vehicle, the people said.
Computer giant Apple Inc. has successfully kept its self-driving plans secret for the past several years. But the company's latest talks with automaker Kia about building an Apple-branded electric vehicle have revealed that Apple is indeed up to something.
Now according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified due to the private nature of the discussions, Apple is reportedly in talks with multiple lidar developers to supply the sensors for its car project, Bloomberg reports.
Rather than develop complex hardware in-house, Apple is looking to outside vendors for the hardware for its planned autonomous vehicle, the people said.
Like Apple, the world's automakers are also forming partnerships with lidar suppliers as vehicles come equipped with more automated driving features, rather than developing the technology in-house.
As advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) become standard on many new vehicles, there is a growing demand for lidar technology and automakers are turning to lidar developers like Luminar and Velodyne Lidar Inc to supply low-cost automotive-grade lidar sensors at scale that can be installed in a vehicle during production.
Lidar is also a vital sensor to support new vehicle safety features, such as automotive emergency braking (AEB) and automated cruise control (ACC), which are offered in many new models today as standard.
Lidar, which is an acronym for "light detecting and ranging", is an important sensor for self-driving vehicles, acting as an extra set of eyes on the road ahead. The technology works by sending out pulses of laser light and measuring the time its takes for the light to reflect back off objects.
The light reflected is used to create a 3D representation of a vehicle's surroundings known as a lidar point cloud. These lidar images act as the "eyes" of a self-driving vehicle. Lidar is used to identify nearby vehicles, trees, buildings, bridges and pedestrians and enables safe navigation.
Lidar images are often combined with cameras, radar and AI-powered perception software.
The ongoing discussions at Apple signal that the company has not yet found a preferred lidar supplier. More than likely, Apple mulling different designs for the supplier that meets its unique needs.
With the recent advances in autonomous driving, the race to supply lidar to the auto industry has led to a number of high-profile lidar startups launching IPO to raise capital on Wall Street by merging with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), also known as "blank check" companies. The most recent IPO was from Volvo-backed lidar developer Luminar in December.
In May of last year, lidar startup Luminar Technologies Inc. made headlines when it was chosen by Volvo Cars to supply lidar technology for the automaker's future generation of self-driving vehicles. Luminar's partnership with Volvo will support the automaker's first self-driving technology for highways called "Highway Pilot."
South Korean automaker Kia Motors was thrust into the global spotlight in January and again earlier this month after rumors began swirling that it was in talks with Apple to jointly develop an electric car.
The reports said that Apple was moving forward with its self-driving car project and was aiming to produce a passenger vehicle as early as 2024 that could include advanced battery technology developed by the iPhone maker.
Earlier this month, A South Korean newspaper reported that Kia received a $3.6 billion investment from Apple as part of a collaboration to make electric vehicles. According to the report, the deal was supposed to be signed on Wednesday, Feb 17 and the Apple Car was slated for manufacturing in 2024. Now Kia says those talks are on hold.
Apple's secretive electric car project is code-named "Project Titan."
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Tesla Agrees to Pay Model S Owners $1.5 Million For Reducing Battery Power in Their Vehicles
Tesla's Chinese Battery Supplier CATL Unveils a Sodium-ion Battery, a Major Breakthrough for EVs
LG Electronics & Magna International Finalize Agreement for New ePowertrain Joint Venture That’s Linked to the Secretive ‘Apple Car’ Project
Tesla is Moving its Retail Showrooms Out of Upscale Shopping Centers, According to Sources
Hyundai’s XCIENT Fuel Cell Trucks Hitting the Road in California in the Largest Deployment of the Technology in the U.S.
Lucid Motors Debuts on the Nasdaq and Raises $4.4 Billion as its Looks to Take on Tesla
General Motors Files Lawsuit Against Rival Ford for Naming its New Autonomous Driving Feature ‘BlueCruise’
Luxury-Electric Automaker Lucid Motors to Launch its Much-Anticipated IPO Next Week
- Senate Finance Committee Advances Bill That Includes Raising the Federal Tax Credit up to $12,500 on U.S.-Made EVs
- The Audi A7 PHEV Named Best Luxury Plug-in Hybrid of 2021 by U.S. News & World Report
- Volvo’s Concept Recharge is a Blueprint For the Brand’s EV Future
- General Motors Could Replace the Camaro With an Electric-Performance Sedan
- Ford Mustang Mach-E Helping Brand Reach New Buyers
- Amazon Testing Rivian Electric Delivery Vans in San Francisco
- Volvo’s New Electric XC90 to Come with LiDAR & NVIDIA's Orin Processor for Autonomous Driving
- Tesla Reports is Highest Quarterly Profit Ever, Predicts the Model Y Could Become the World’s Best Selling Vehicle of Any Kind
- China’s Tesla Challengers NIO Inc. and XPeng Both Report Record Electric Vehicle Deliveries in June
- Automaker Stellantis Announces its Bold EV Plans, Will Invest $35 Billion to Electrify its Global Vehicle Lineup