The automotive world is changing, and if you need evidence of that, we remind you that Apple is working on a car. At least, we think the company is still working on it. An admittedly sketchy rumour from the beginning of December suggested the autonomous car was slated to debut late next year. Whether that actually happens is unknown, but at least one traditional automaker doesn't seem to mind the added competition.

That automaker is Volkswagen. More specifically, Automotive News Europe reports that VW CEO Herbert Diess apparently isn't phased by the influx of tech giants into the motoring market. Rather, he's looking forward to the accelerated changes companies like Apple can bring, though the report stops short of specifying exactly what kind of changes they might be. Presumably, it's the ongoing march towards fully autonomous electric vehicles, since that's the focus of Apple's motoring plan.

Gallery: Motor1 Apple Car Renderings

Of course, the comments could simply be a bit of bravado. Apple's foray into motoring hasn't gone smoothly, with the company cutting over 200 people from the project back in early 2019. Information has been very slow to trickle out about the car, and while the recent rumours say it will debut next year, parts suppliers are the source of chatter as opposed to folks from Apple.

Even if Apple's car does arrive as planned, regulations will likely keep it off the road aside from testing purposes for quite some time. Automakers are struggling to get Level 3 systems into public hands, and while Level 3 does offer self-driving capability, it's extremely restricted both in where it can be used, and the maximum speed allowed. Furthermore, it still requires a human behind the wheel, ready to take control at a moment's notice. It's a far cry from Apple's driverless intentions.

Still, Diess raises a very interesting point. Hot tech companies like Apple have gobs of resources at their disposal for research and development, and according to the report, that demands considerable respect for their capabilities. At the very least, then, it seems companies like VW are watching the new kids very closely as the technology rapidly moves forward.