Apple is reportedly on track to launch a self-driving electric vehicle in 2025, speeding up its timeline for the mysterious self-driving vehicle project known as Project Titan in a significant development in the contest for consumers' attention in EVs.
This move opens the possibility for an expanded EV market in the years to come and follows the expansion of Apple and Tesla's footing in Texas. Apple's billion-dollar Austin campus is preparing to open while Tesla plans to move its headquarters to the growing tech hub.
Apple Campus under construction in Austinwww.youtube.com
According to a Bloomberg report, the Apple vehicle is trying to create an EV with "stronger safeguards than what's available from Tesla and Waymo." For some consumers switching to cars with more advanced technology, safeguards are key. Between June 2016 and May 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigated 36 crashes that involved Tesla EVs or other vehicles with self-driving features.
Among the new plans include a design that doesn't have a steering wheel, but rather a large, iPad-style touchscreen with an interface similar to that of iOS.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously commented on Apple's EV, saying in 2016 that it was obvious they would try to do so and that it would expand the industry. "Tesla will still aspire to make the most compelling electric vehicles, and that would be our goal while at the same time helping other companies to make electric cars as well," Musk said.
Last week, EV company Rivian— which is seeing potential growth in Austin— made its Wall Street debut with the biggest American Initial Public Offering since Facebook, further muddying the waters for Tesla.
The Apple EV project involved former Tesla employee Doug Field, who worked in vehicle programs and engineering before moving to Apple in 2018. Earlier this year, Field left his post as head of Apple's car project and moved to Ford. Apple Watch executive Kevin Lynch took his place.
As Bloomberg notes, core work on the new processor that will power the autonomous EV has been finished. Next steps will involve putting the chip through tests on its California fleet.
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A big-money bird has been stolen from a northwest Austin pet store.
Kelsey Fernandez, the owner of a $6,000 sulphur and citron-crested cockatoo named Lemon Grab, said the emotional support animal was taken from the Gallery of Pets store, around closing time on Sunday.
"I've struggled with mental illness my entire life, and ever since I got him I've been doing so much better," Fernandez told Austonia.
The $6k cockatoo is young and will starve unless he is fed by hand, Fernandez said.
In a surveillance video, a man appears to have something under his shirt as he and two others exit the business around the same time the store believes that Lemon Grab was stolen.
Fernandez said a report has been filed with the Austin Police Department with an $1,000 reward for his return.
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Introverts and personal space lovers may not want to make the move to Austin anytime soon: The Texas capital saw a bigger increase in one-bedroom rent prices than almost any other U.S. city in April, according to a Rent.com report.
Austin's one-bedroom rent has more than doubled—a 112% increase—from April 2021 to 2022, the report said. Only Oklahoma City saw a higher year-over-year increase with a 133% jump.
Austin also had the fourth-highest increase in two-bedroom rent, with a 50% increase in the past year. The city joined a nationwide trend where rents were up 8.3% year-over-year across the U.S, a trend exacerbated by a 6.2% increase in inflation in the same time period.
But "not everyone is experiencing inflation the same way," Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr said in the report, and a brunt of the load has gone to cities with more move-ins. While over 90% of state rental markets increased in the last year, that jump was seen most in Sun Belt states, including Texas, Arizona and Florida.
Even with breakneck increases in rent, however, Austin's rent prices still haven't cracked the top 10: the city's one-bedroom apartments are the 12th most expensive in the nation with an average price of $2,918. Meanwhile, its two-bedrooms fall behind Texas cities Frisco, Dallas and Plano and come out 34th on the list with a $2,302 average monthly rent.
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