Apple is definitely working on the long term in the electric AND autonomous vehicle sector. The Apple Car still seems to be located in a parallel dimension to the real Apple projects (i.e. those that Apple will transform into commercial products/services in the medium term), but one thing is certain: the project is still alive.
Data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles reveals that Apple has significantly increased the number of drivers behind the wheel of ‘autonomous’ test cars. 23 drivers have been added to the list, bringing the total to 137. As of September, there were 114 Apple autonomous vehicle drivers on California roads, while in May there were “only” 76.
Despite this increase in the number of drivers, they will still have to share the responsibility for a fleet of 69 vehicles equipped with all kinds of sensors (including a LiDAR). This fleet of vehicles has not moved for months, even though the companies competing in the autonomous EV sector have all expanded their fleets (i.e. Mercedes Benz, Waymo, GM Cruise, Zoox, and Pony). The volume of drivers and vehicles in the Apple Car project is still far below what is seen in other companies: Waymo, for example, has 1,628 autonomous EV drivers, and even the startup Zoox has 315 drivers.
Does this mean that Apple isn’t really serious about these new transport technologies? Probably not. Does this mean that Apple is not totally abandoning this market, which will inevitably take off one day or another? Probably not.