Apple signs deal with Volkswagen to make self-driving cars

Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to make self-driving cars after BMW and Mercedes-Benz reportedly rebuffed the tech giant's requests to hand over control of the data and design of the planned cars, The New York Times reports.

Now the Cupertino, California-based company will work to turn some of Volkswagen's T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for Apple employees. The Times says Apple once planned its own electric self-driving car line, dubbed “Project Titan,” then refocused on making software for self-driving cars.

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At one time, Bloomberg Business claimed that Apple, “which has been working secretly on a car, is pushing its team to begin production of an electric vehicle as early as 2020.” 9to5Mac compiled a list of automotive experts hired by Apple and says “it’s clear Apple’s ambitions go well beyond just its iOS-based CarPlay in-dash system.” BGR noted any “Applemobile” will likely be an electric car of some kind, especially given Apple CEO Tim Cook’s dedication to expanding the use of greener energy.

However, in 2016 new leadership of the initiative re-focused on developing an autonomous driving system that gave Apple flexibility to either partner with existing carmakers, or return to designing its own vehicle in the future. Exactly where the company’s partnership with VW will go beyond employee shuttles … well, we’ll have to wait and see.