If you’re a big believer of the phrase, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’, then you would have been as skeptical as I was when Daewoo went from cars to microwaves to hairdryers. Now it seems that Apple, who we’ve come to know for benchmark developments in the software and gadget world are considering expanding their business into the world of automobiles.
What are the odds?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise really, Google have been developing a ‘driver-less’ car for years in a project spearheaded by Sebastian Thrun, co-inventor of Google Street View. A Toyota Prius has since been modified to operate as a Google driver-less car, with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles even issuing the self-driven car with a licence on 1st March 2012, after much Google lobbying for laws to be adapted to accommodate the high-tech cars. Using information from Google Street View, video information gathered from internal cameras and software that uses sensors on the top, front and rear of the vehicle to establish where the car is on the map, it is able to drive without human intervention, at the speed limit, while pacing itself based on how far away the car in front is – for a while at least. The cars are still in the experimental stages and increased accuracy in mapping and artificial intelligence will greatly improve the technology, but the car can be over-ridden by a human should need be.
It’s unclear how far along Apple’s version is, but rumours started as far back as 2007 when Steve Jobs met with Volkswagen about developing a car aimed at the youth market. It’s easy to imagine how this would be the next big thing for youthful trendoids already neck-deep in Apple devices wanting to sync their iPhone, iPod and iPad with their car, with Siri providing the narration for their journey. Unlike Google’s application of software to existing cars like the Prius and Lexus, it appears this car will be built from the bottom up, with a slick exterior and the kind of smooth finish we would expect from something called an iCar. Designer Franco Grassi showed Mashable.com what he expected the new wave vehicle would look like but we’ll have to wait and see just what it looks like, if they actually ever really end up on the road.