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Is Apple really trying to develop a self-driving electric car with Hyundai?

(Pocket-lint) – Apple is reportedly in talks with Hyundai to produce an autonomous electric vehicle. The Korean auto giant even confirmed it, though it also revised its statements to possibly save itself from the wrath of Cupertino. 

The Korea Economic Daily first reported their “early stage” discussions on Thursday. Hyundai later confirmed the development to Bloomberg, saying: “Apple and Hyundai are in discussion, but as it is at early stage, nothing has been decided.” Hyundai further told CNBC: “We understand Apple is in discussion with a variety of global automakers, including Hyundai Motor.”

In response to these reports, shares of Hyundai Motor Company shot up more than 20% on the Korea Exchange during trading on Friday.

However, Pocket-lint tried to contact Hyundai, and a spokesperson declined to comment. And now, the company is backing away from its initial comments. Late Thursday, Hyundai updated its statements to the media and is carefully admitting it has only received requests for potential cooperation from a number of companies. Hyundai specifically removed any mention of Apple.

“We’ve been receiving requests for potential cooperation from various companies regarding development of autonomous EVs,” Hyundai clarified to Bloomberg. No decisions have been made as discussions are in early stage.” Bloomberg noted that, by initially naming Apple, Hyundai “risks the ire” of Apple, which is known for its secretiveness over products and partnerships.

Last month, Reuters reported Apple’s long-rumoured electric car initiative, thought to be called Project Titan, is still in the works, and that it plans to develop an autonomous electric vehicle. But the car is not expected to launch until 2024.

Meanwhile, Hyundai launched its own EV brand, Ioniq, last August and has plans to offer three all-electric vehicles over the next four years.

Writing by Maggie Tillman.

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