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Volkswagen says it's not in talks with Apple or Google about new 'digital mobility' businesses

Volkswagen is talking with external partners about launching so-called digital mobility businesses, but is not in any negotiations with either Apple or Google, the carmaker's CEO said on Thursday, pointing to a different direction for its self-driving car efforts.

Matthias Mueller nevertheless refused to name the actual companies Volkswagen actually is speaking with about its development efforts, according to Reuters.

Volkswagen's Digital:Lab, based in Berlin, is working on a "digital mobility platform" with the help of outside partners. The entity is also at work on "vehicle control center," able to pull data on weather, surroundings, and traffic from networked vehicles to generate hazard warnings. Effectively, it's laying the groundwork for self-driving technology.

Mueller's comments suggest however that Volkswagen won't be adopting Google's well-known self-driving platform —already in road testing —or working in any sort of partnership with Apple.

Apple is believed to be developing an electric car for launch in 2019 or 2020. Work on self-driving systems has been a part of that, though the first model may or may not ship with them.

While Apple is likely to need an outside partner to help manufacture a vehicle, it's expected to keep any software platforms involved to itself. Volkswagen will probably be limited to integrating CarPlay, Apple's bridge interface allowing people to control an iPhone through a combination of voice and dash commands.