Tesla took a page out of Apple’s book in terms of developing its own self-driving chip, according to ARK Investment Management CEO Cathie Wood. As a result, Apple’s future self-driving car is well behind before anything has really even started.
“Tesla took a leaf out of Apple’s book when it developed its own chip for autonomous vehicles,” Wood said in a webinar on Tuesday. In the past, Apple has entered markets that have been saturated with revolutionary tech until the company took things a step further and developed something groundbreaking. “Apple has entered markets well after someone else has established them and run away with the market,” Wood added, which is remarkable and factual in every way.
Apple reportedly called upon TSMC, a microprocessor manufacturing entity, to develop a self-driving capable chip for its car. But the question goes past whether it will be effective.
The question isn’t whether Apple will be able to breakthrough with a self-driving car, it’s when. It has plans to develop a fully-autonomous electric vehicle during this decade. Reports indicate that it could be introduced to the market between 2025 and 2027. But it’s a whole new ballgame that Apple is entering, and vehicles are a lot different than phones. While there are some similarities now, like Over-the-Air updates and software sophistication, Apple isn’t dealing with companies that make minor changes to already existing products in this sector. Tesla is the outright leader in EVs and self-driving, and Apple plans to catch up.
However, Apple could have a difficult time because Tesla developed its own wave of infrastructure for self-driving. Instead of going with LiDAR systems that use light, reflections, and sensors, Tesla uses a camera-based option that has been widely successful. Just look at its FSD Beta, which has improved tremendously since its introduction in October.
Tesla has the experience, data, and the miles to prove that it is going to be the top dog, and it is going to be difficult to knock them off of the pedestal. Tesla had over 3 billion miles driven on Autopilot in May, and Wood says the company is coming up on 20 billion real-world miles. Google only has between 20 and 50 million, she added, according to Seeking Alpha.
It’s not that Apple is not going to be able to solve the challenges with self-driving, because fellow ARK analyst Tasha Keeney believes that the company is making the right moves. Keeney said that Apple’s decision to put its head of Artificial Intelligence on the project was a good move, but the timing is just off.
“This is an AI game, the problem is Apple just did it,” Wood added. “They are way behind.”
ARK has a price target for TSLA of $7,000 per share by 2024.