Volkswagen to build Apple's self-driving vehicles, report says

The Volkswagen T6 Transporter is not currently sold in the United States

The Volkswagen T6 Transporter is not currently sold in the United States

But Apple is still among the most valuable companies in the world and has more than $250 billion in cash on hand.

Apple Inc. and Volkswagen AG struck a deal late last year that let the technology giant equip VW vans with self-driving technology to transport Apple employees between offices within the next year, according to a person familiar with the matter. But the most exciting side of the story is that Apple had indeed plans to build a new auto experience for the user, as well as a design it had to put on hold. Sources say the German automaker was not Apple's first choice. Originally, Apple planned to build a vehicle that would disrupt the automotive industry.

The vans will be outfitted in Italy with Apple's self-driving sensors and software, along with an electric powertrain and batteries.

According to the Times' sources-"five people familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified because they weren't authorized to discuss the matter publicly"-BMW and Mercedes-Benz rejected a partnership with Apple due to requirements from the Cupertino-based firm to turn over all data and some design aspects of the vehicle".

The VW I.D. Vizzion self-driving electric car will have 400 miles of range the company says
The VW I.D. Vizzion self-driving electric car will have 400 miles of range the company says

Apple even built a sport-utility vehicle with four seats facing each other that was similar to a design concept Mercedes shown off a few years ago. The company hired over 1,000 employees to reimagine the auto.

Specifics of the deal remain unclear, but The New York Times explains the deal, coupled with failed negotiations with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, represents the "continuing travails and diminished scope" of Apple's self-driving vehicle efforts.

The agreement is part of an internal Apple program called Project Titan that started in 2015 as an ambitious effort to build an electric vehicle. The shuttles will ferry employees between two of Apple's Silicon Valley campuses, and will include a driver behind the wheel to take control if needed, as well as an operator in the passenger's seat tracking the van's performance.

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