Apple Still working on Ambitious Self Driving Car Project

 

Apple Advances on Self Driving Car

What was once human fantasy may soon become the norm. Self-driving cars are becoming increasingly common to see on the roads nowadays. And as they hit the streets in growing numbers, one company is making efforts to ensure driverless vehicles do so in style and with as less trouble as possible.

Last year, Chief Executive Officer of Apple Inc., Tim Cook dismissed reports saying the company was building its own self-driving cars, claiming instead that his firm was working on “autonomous systems” that will power a range of different products. However, it has since become clear that Apple is indeed working on an autonomous vehicle of some sorts under the name “project Titan.”

A Cleantechnica piece claims that Apple’s self-driving car project is still in the works. The California-based company is said to have brought more people on the self-driving car project, including a Waymo engineer, Jaime Waydo. Apple also hired another notable personality in the person of John Gianandrea, a former Google executive and AI expert.

Ambition

The emergence of Tesla, Waymo, Uber and Google’s ambition to push the limits of innovation to deliver maximum comfort for passengers has led to breakthroughs in the quest for self-driving cars. Recent events suggest Apple hopes to join the train by manufacturing a driverless vehicle of its own.

If Mr. Cook’s earlier submissions are any indication, then Apple will stop at nothing until it has realized its goals. The CEO had stated that Apple’s then new self-driving technology was the “…mother of all AI projects,” which is “is something that’s incredibly exciting for us.”

Considering it’s a big rich company with a vast amount of resources and influence, there’s little to suggest that Apple’s Project Titan will be anything other than a success. The organization has all it takes to lay its hands on the right technology and attract the best brains to help speed up the project.

Steady Progress

It is not yet clear what form Apple’s self-driving car initiative would take. For now, however, it appears that the company’s autonomous driving team will concentrate their efforts on building self-driving employee shuttles in collaboration with Volkswagen, according to The Verge.

The tech giant settled for Volkswagen after talks regarding partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and BMW ended, per New York Times. It would be recalled that Apple obtained permits to test self-driving vehicles in California in furtherance of its driverless car ambition sometime in 2017.

The Drive reported that the company’s fleet of self-driving cars registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles has grown to 55 cars. This makes Apple the company with the second largest fleet of autonomous vehicles in California after General Motor’s Cruise.

It may not be there yet, but Apple seems to be making continued progress with its self-driving car project.

 

 

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Apple Campus The Space Ship Headquarters

Apple Campus 2, Lord of the ‘Rings’ Building

The Parliament House of India in New Delhi, the Vulcano Buono shopping mall in Nola, Italy and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham are some of the massive ring-shaped buildings in the world. Come next year, they will be dwarfed by the colossal Apple Campus 2, the second corporate headquarters of the iPhone maker in Cupertino, California. Any one of the Parliament House, Vulcano Buono and GCHQ would fit inside the 176-acre Apple Campus 2 making the latter the rightful lord of the “ring” buildings.

The Building of Apple Campus

When contractor Rudolph and Sletten & Holder Construction completes Apple Campus 2 next year, the circular building will have a floor area of 2.8 million square feet. In contrast, Vulcano Buono’s floor area is 1.6 million sq. ft., GCHQ’s is 1.5 million sq. ft., and the Parliament House’s is 261,358 sq. ft. Apple Campus 2 is also more than a mile around while the Italian mall and GCHQ are just one-third of a mile around. Apple Campus 2 will house some 13,000 employees. In contrast, around 5,500 people work at the GCHQ. In terms of cost, the Apple project is projected to cost $5 billion. The British government spent £337 to complete the GCHQ in 2003 while the Vulcano Buono cost €180 million to complete in 2007.

Apple Goes Green

Apple Campus 2 will also be as green as Vulcano Buono and greener than GCHQ and the Parliament House. British firm Foster+Partners, the architects, put glass walls in the four-storey structure so occupants can look out on both sides. Within the ring is a large outdoor park with a fountain and stage in the center. Some 7,000 trees will surround the structure. Electricity will not come from the city’s power grid. The roof will be covered with solar panels to produce electricity that will power the building. The main building will have natural ventilation so air conditioning or heating will not be used for 75 percent of the year. Recycled water will be used in the campus and even be shared with Cupertino residents.

Healthy Work Environment of the Future

Adding to the healthy working environment of Apple Campus 2 are some 1,000 bikes for use by employees in getting around the place, miles of jogging and cycling trails, and a fitness center open to all of Apple’s 20,000 workers in Silicon Valley. The other amenities are a 500-table cafeteria eight times larger than the one in the Infinite Loop campus, underground parking facilities for up to 14,200 cars, and a 1,000-seat underground auditorium for product launching.

London Square not the Design that Steve Jobs Wanted

Oddly, Apple Campus 2 was originally planned as a square building with the design inspired by a London square with houses that surround a park, Forster+Partners founder and chairman Norman Foster told Architectural Record. But the design eventually evolved into a circular building with inputs from Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs.

“Jobs wanted the new campus to reflect the Californian landscapes from his childhood,” according to Foster.

The environment and workforce are not the only winners in the Apple project. Cupertino folks get to benefit from the $30.6 million in revenue the project is bringing to the City Council. With that, the city can now fund its retirees’ medical needs.

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