Perhaps the most closely-guarded secret in Silicon Valley is just who will build the self-driving, electric car set to use Apple’s proprietary software.
A report out of South Korea suggests that Kia, which is an arm of automotive giant Hyundai, may be the long-rumored partner Apple has been quietly seeking. Though neither side has defined any sort of relationship, Hyundai has said that it has talked with Apple about self-driving car technology.
Apple said recently that it is seeking an outside partner to actually handle development of the vehicle, a move that may come as a surprise given the tech giant’s reluctance to share development with outside firms. However, cars are a lot more complex than computers and mobile devices, in part because of durability standards and safety mandates that would be foreign to a tech company.
Kia is a part of the Hyundai Motor Group, a massive conglomerate closely related to firms involved in everything from mining to shipping to department stores. The Hyundai companies have no direct comparable in the U.S. or Europe, though such conglomerates called chaebol in South Korea also include Samsung and LG.
Over the past few years, Kia has distanced itself slightly from Hyundai, though the two share car underpinnings, engines, and technology.