Apple signed a deal with Volkswagen for self driving cars after failing to get an agreement with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, the New York Times reported.
Apple turned to automakers after BMW and Mercedes rebuffed the technology giant's requirements to hand over control of the data and design, the paper said. Instead Apple and VW signed a deal to turn T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for Apple employees, the report said.
Bloomberg also reported that Apple and VW struck a deal for VW self-driving vans to transport Apple employees between offices within the next year.
The agreement is part of an internal Apple program called Project Titan that started in 2015 as an effort to build an electric vehicle. After facing development and management problems, Apple shifted its focus to autonomous technologies that control vehicles.
Apple tests dozens of Lexus SUVs on public roads in California with its self-driving technology, but has also applied the technology to a shuttle service it’s developing to transport staff between office buildings at its Cupertino, California, headquarters.
Apple is using fewer than two dozen of VW’s T6 Transporter vans, which are being customized by the technology giant, Bloomberg reported.
Apple originally had hundreds of hardware and software engineers, designers, and car battery experts on staff to build a car to take on Tesla and Detroit, but has since slimmed the Titan teams down to people working on self-driving camera sensors and underlying software. The company has also lost some executives who worked on the project.
Representatives for Apple and Volkswagen declined to comment.
Bloomberg contributed to this report