Even if Apple never drives out an Apple Car, the company could work with auto manufacturers to change the driving experience by helping implement an “intelligent cockpit.”
In September 2012, Popular Science posted an article called "Drivers of Progress," about five technologies that will shape the cars of the future. The first one was the "intelligent cockpit," an area that Apple has the potential to dominate.
Here's what Popular Science had to say: "... automakers could soon cede much of the software development to the same engineers who write smartphone apps. Today you can connect your phone to your car using a USB cable; the vehicle’s software will load your music and your contacts. Soon the smartphone will become the car’s computer, hosting the software that now runs in-dash applications.
"... it will make the cockpit -- the navigation screen, the gauges, the voice that tells you 'left turn ahead' -- just as easy to customize and update as a smartphone is today.
"To prevent a flood of digital information from becoming a deadly distraction, engineers have begun to rethink the way cars communicate with their drivers. Earlier this year, for example, Audi unveiled a concept for an augmented-reality system that projects information about the terrain (points of interest, names of buildings) onto the windshield, overlaying it on the scenery ahead.
"Automobiles can also send information to their drivers using tactile feedback. The 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan uses vibrating motors in the seats to warn drivers of dangers such as the movement of cars through blind spots. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and AT&T Research Labs have collaborated to design a prototype steering wheel that uses vibrations to convey instructions from the navigation system."
What company is in a better position to make their smartphone the brains of your car than Apple? With so many car manufacturers now including Siri and CarPlay, our favorite tech company is the most natural fit.