Hyundai and Apple [NASDAQ: AAPL] are reportedly on the verge of signing a deal to collaborate on a self-driving electric vehicle, Korea IT Times reported on Sunday.
An original version of the report said a prototype, referred to as a “beta version,” could be revealed as early as 2022, with production to follow in 2024 either at a Kia plant in West Point, Georgia, or at a new plant in the United States, according to Reuters. These details aren't included in the latest version of the article.
Hyundai last week confirmed it was in talks with Apple to The Korea Economic Daily following its report that the two companies were discussing the possibility of jointly developing an electric vehicle and batteries for EVs. In its confirmation, Hyundai said it was in early talks with Apple but didn't disclose the subject matter of the discussions.
“Apple and Hyundai are in discussions but they are at an early stage and nothing has been decided,” the automaker said.
Hyundai also said in a regulatory filing last week that it was “getting requests for cooperation on joint development of autonomous electric vehicles from various companies,” but didn't mention any names.
The latest news follows a report from Reuters in December, which cited anonymous sources as saying that Apple plans to launch an EV powered by “radically” designed batteries as early as 2024.
Talk of Apple launching an EV, the oft-rumored Project Titan, dates back almost a decade. The company has also been developing self-driving technology for most of the past decade and in 2019 acquired self-driving technology company Drive.ai. Over the years, it's also filed multiple patents related to cars and driving.
Should Apple launch a self-driving EV, it isn't clear whether the vehicle would be sold to individual customers or used in a self-driving taxi fleet. Apple in 2018 was reportedly looking at using Volkswagen's Transporter van for a self-driving taxi fleet.
In similar news, Reuters reported last week that Baidu, often described as China's Google, plans to launch its own EV to be built by Geely. Like Apple, Baidu has been developing self-driving technology for the past several years.