Volkswagen and Apple are working together on an autonomous shuttle for Apple employees, a new report says.
The shuttle will be based on a Transporter van and comes on the heels of the tech firm’s rapidly sinking fortunes in the autonomous vehicle market.
Initially eager to lead the autonomous trend, the Apple Car project launched with high hopes and a budget that was projected to run into the hundreds of millions. According to a report by the New York Times, though, the project quickly ran into trouble as the iPhone-maker found out that designing cars is hard.
Apple then decided to turn to automakers, but according to sources speaking to the NYT anonymously, the project quickly ran into trouble there, too. With Apple’s desire to keep data and design in-house, deals with automakers like Mercedes (codename Bruce), BMW, McLaren, and more all fell through.
Now, according to the report, Apple has turned to VW (codename Jetstream), itself interested in moving into the autonomous market, to help it with its Apple Car Shuttle program.
To that end, they will be using a T6 chassis and components with a body designed by ItalDesign (a VW subsidiary) to make the shuttle for its employees.
Apple, meanwhile will replace the dashboard and seats, and will add big batteries and a motor to make the vehicle electric. Previous to this it also worked on holographic displays and more, all in an effort to make the vehicle less like a car to disrupt the automotive market.
Even this project seems to be on thin ice, though, as NYT reports that it will miss its end-of-2018 deadline. Right now, no one can say if the partnership with VW will extend beyond this iTransporter.
A version of this story originally appeared on VW Vortex
Discuss this story on our Volkswagen Forum