애플이 2024년까지 자체 설계한 전기차 배터리를 탑재한 자율주행 차량을 생산할 계획이라고 한다.
애플의 자율주행차 프로젝트명은 타이탄으로 2014년부터 시작했다. 애플의 자율주행차는 승객을 태우는 로보택시를 만드는 구글의 웨이모와 달리 개인용 차량으로 개발되고 있다.
애플이 자체설계하는 배터리는 리튬인산철(LFP) 배터리로 일반적으로 전기차에 쓰이는 리튬이온 배터리보다 화재 위험이 적은 대신 주행거리가 짧다. 애플은 배터리 재료를 담는 파우치 등을 없앤 ‘모노셀’ 디자인을 적용해 LFP 배터리의 주행거리를 늘릴 것으로 예상된다고 한다.
애플의 자율주행 기술은 테슬라와는 달리 다른 업체들처럼 라이다센서를 사용한다. 다수의 라이다센서를 사용해서 사물과 도로의 위치를 인식하여 달린다.
애플이 자율주행차에 대해서 직접적으로 언급한 적은 없지만 자율주행차 시장은 과거 스마트폰 시장처럼 최첨단 기술이 집약된 시장이 될 것인만큼 애플도 뛰어들거라고 판단한다.
휴대폰을 한번도 만들지 않았던 애플이 스마트폰에서 성공했던 것처럼 자동차 시장에서도 성공할 수 있을지 지켜보는 것도 재밌을 것 같다.
다가오는 미래에 화두는 전기차와 자율주행차다.
자율주행차 관련주를 제대로 살펴본 시점이 다가온 것 같다.
Apple Inc is moving forward with self-driving car technology and is targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The iPhone maker’s automotive efforts, known as Project Titan, have proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch. At one point, Apple drew back the effort to focus on software and reassessed its goals. Doug Field, an Apple veteran who had worked at Tesla Inc, returned to oversee the project in 2018 and laid off 190 people from the team in 2019.
Since then, Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers, two people familiar with the effort said, asking not to be named because Apple’s plans are not public. Apple’s goal of building a personal vehicle for the mass market contrasts with rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, which has built robo-taxis to carry passengers for a driverless ride-hailing service.
Central to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, according to a third person who has seen Apple’s battery design.
Apple declined to comment on its plans or future products.
Making a vehicle represents a supply chain challenge even for Apple, a company with deep pockets that makes hundreds of millions of electronics products each year with parts from around the world, but has never made a car. It took Elon Musk’s Tesla 17 years before it finally turned a sustained profit making cars.
Apple has decided to tap outside partners for elements of the system, including lidar sensors, which help self-driving cars get a three-dimensional view of the road, two people familiar with the company’s plans said.
Apple’s car might feature multiple lidar sensors for scanning different distances, another person said. Some sensors could be derived from Apple’s internally developed lidar units, that person said. Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro models released this year both feature lidar sensors.
Reuters had previously reported that Apple had held talks with potential lidar suppliers, but it was also examining building its own sensor.
As for the car’s battery, Apple plans to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials, one of the people said.
Apple’s design means that more active material can be packed inside the battery, giving the car a potentially longer range. Apple is also examining a chemistry for the battery called LFP, or lithium iron phosphate, the person said, which is inherently less likely to overheat and is thus safer than other types of lithium-ion batteries.