Google buys 20,000 SUVs

A few years ago, I chatted to a senior Volkswagen AG manager who’d been involved in discussions with Apple Inc. about teaming up on autonomous vehicles.

In essence, he said, Apple had asked the German autos giant to give it a stack of vehicle and driver behavior data. In return, VW would receive the self-driving system – he called it “a black box” – it could fit to its vehicles. He laughed. “No, thanks,” was the response. Former VW CEO Matthias Mueller admitted as much in a 2016 interview, hinting that the two companies had very different views on the much greater value of the carmaker’s data.

Fast forward to the present day, and the New York Times has reported that Apple is working with a VW subsidiary to transform T6 Transporter vans into electric self-driving shuttles. It’s a huge stepdown from the ambitious plans of several years ago.

Apple is adapting fewer than two dozen

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