Vision curtailed, aspirations narrowed, demands rebuffed, scope diminished, spurned by classier brands—all this for a self-driving shuttle that’s behind schedule and killing morale.
From Apple, Spurned by BMW and Mercedes, Signs Deal With Volkswagen for Driverless Cars, posted Wednesday by Jack Nicas on NYT.com.
Apple had already curtailed its grand vision for disrupting the automotive industry by building its own self-driving car. Now the tech giant has narrowed its auto aspirations even further.
For the past several years, Apple sought partnerships with the luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz to develop an all-electric self-driving car, according to five people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But on-again, off-again talks with those companies have ended after each rebuffed Apple’s requirements to hand over control of the data and design, some of the people said.
Instead, Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to turn some of the carmaker’s new T6 Transporter vans into Apple’s self-driving shuttles for employees — a project that is behind schedule and consuming nearly all of the Apple car team’s attention, said three people familiar with the project.
Apple’s deal with Volkswagen, which hasn’t been previously reported, and the failure of its talks with other automakers reflect the continuing travails and diminished scope of the company’s four-year-old car program.
My take: Before he joined the New York Times in February, Jack Nicas covered Google for the Wall Street Journal.