TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has been Apple’s main mobile chip manufacturer since 2014’s A8 chip debuted in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, along with making the Apple Silicon chips for Apple’s next-gen Macs.
And now, according to a new rumor published by DigiTimes, TSMC may also be Apple’s pick to make whichever chip Apple uses for its autonomous car project, informally referred to as the Apple Car.
TSMC Could Build Apple’s Self-Driving Car Chip
According to DigiTimes, Apple and TSMC are working to develop the chips that would power Apple’s reported autonomous vehicle. The report also suggests that manufacturing could take place in the United States.
TSMC has some history when it comes to building self-driving car chips. An Electrek report from August 2020 suggested that the company is involved with Tesla’s manufacturing of its forthcoming HW 4.0 chip. These chips will supposedly be made using TSMC’s 7-nanometer process, along with being the first to employ its SoW advanced packaging technology. Electrek said that Tesla’s mass-manufacturing could take place in the fourth quarter of 2021.
It’s worth noting that DigiTimes has a mixed record when it comes to rumors. On AppleTrack, a website that keeps tabs on rumor-monger reliability scores, DigiTimes is described as both “the king and the jester” of the Apple rumor mill. Overall, it scores a 65.1 percent accuracy rating based on 83 rumors.
If Apple designed an electric car. pic.twitter.com/GNjFIW07Sq
— Chris Peterson (@zadankzadank) December 7, 2020
That’s not a bad score (and DigiTimes typically does reasonably well when it’s talking about supply chains in particular), but possibly not the kind of record that should make you hold out on upgrading your own car in favor of waiting for Apple’s vehicle.
Progress Continues on the Apple Car
This is the second piece of news to emerge this week related to Apple’s self-driving car ambitions. A recent report said that Apple has shifted its autonomous driving unit under the leadership of John Giannandrea, an ex-Google employee who leads Apple’s AI work. It’s thought that Apple has “hundreds of engineers” working on the project.
It is not clear whether Apple ultimately plans to introduce an entire hardware-based vehicle, as with Tesla, or just a software platform. It is also not yet known when an Apple Car is planned to roll off the lot.
Apple typically keeps its cards close to its chest, meaning that it’s unlikely to share much information about the development of an Apple-branded vehicle or software platform until it’s ready to do so.
However, Tesla has shown how the technology industry can make serious inroads in the automotive industry. If any established tech giant is able to follow suit, it’s a company with the resources and loyal fanbase that Apple enjoys.
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