The automobile industry has come a long way since the introduction of the first modern car back in 1886. In just a little over a century since then, vehicles have been optimized to fit the specialized needs of every passenger, regardless of individual preferences and lifestyles. As such, it comes as no surprise that the technology giant, Apple (AAPL.O) – best known for their line of Mac computers and iPod/iPhone devices – is next in line to make waves in the industry with plans to make a self-driving electric car.
According to the Huffington Post, Apple Inc. has been in discussion with carmakers and automotive suppliers about the project, which is anticipated to take several years to complete. The company is currently working on the vehicle in a secret lab, although it is still not certain whether or not Apple will eventually build the car.
Regardless, automotive technology has increasingly begun to peak the interest of several Silicon Valley companies. Google Inc, for example, has been working on its own version of a “smart car” called the “Google Self-Driving Car”, which will be tested on the roads beginning in 2015.
The connected car, or vehicles with a “full range of Internet and software services”, is an area that will most likely see a lot of growth within the next coming years. The opportunity is particularly interesting for Apple, which has been focused on the realm of mobile and electronic devices up until now.
Last March. the company entered the automotive domain with the release of its CarPlay software, which allows drivers to carry out a host of actions – from making calls to listening to voicemails – without ever having to take their hands off of the steering wheel. Apple is also looking to integrate its popular iOS software into vehicles with CarPlay, possibly in the near future.
In the meantime, the company continues to slowly expand its sphere of influence by entering into other popular industries, including healthcare and home devices. Just last year, for example, it launched its Healthkit app, which can directly monitor an individual’s physiology for purposes related to general fitness.