After rebuffed attempts to partner with major carmakers over an ambitious electric vehicle project, Apple has reportedly inked a deal with Volkswagen to convert a number of T6 Transporter vans into self-driving shuttles for company employees.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, The New York Times reports the remnants of Apple’s self-driving car team are working with Volkswagen on a previously rumored autonomous shuttle service.
Apple will reportedly use Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter for its PAIL, or Palo Alto to Infinite Loop, pilot program, which is expected to shuttle Apple employees from one Silicon Valley office to another.
First revealed in a report last August, Apple’s PAIL project is supposedly behind schedule and accounts for much of the car team’s time.
The partnership with Volkswagen marks an end to sporadic talks Apple held with luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz over the past few years in hopes of co-developing an all-electric self-driving vehicle. Those negotiations, first reported in 2015, involved Apple’s now scrapped Project Titan automotive initiative.
Previous reports suggested BMW was reluctant to sign on with Apple as doing so would mean sharing manufacturing expertise. In 2016, the Titan team was said to have hit another roadblock when talks with both BMW and Daimler fell apart due to disagreements over ownership of user data.
Apple started work on its self-driving car initiative in 2014, with rumors of the effort leaking out in early 2015. AppleInsider was first to detail key aspects of the initiative being carried out in secret offices in and around Cupertino.