Plans for an Apple Car are Dead; Self Driving Platform to Take its Place
Apple’s “Project Titan” has been one of Apples best kept, but widely speculated secrets. The project started by in 2014 with the mission to take on the automotive industry with an Apple Car. Primary competition would, of course, been Tesla and its wild Model S and Model X electric cars. Since the word spread, Journalists everywhere have speculated about what it will look like, what features it will have, and just when we would actually be able to lay eyes on this unicorn of a car. We even made a rendering of it not that long ago, but new reports are suggesting that Apple has canned the idea of building its own car altogether in favor of building an autonomous drive system instead.
That’s the word, according to Bloomberg who quotes unnamed sources that are “familiar with the project.” Out of a team that was once about 1,000 members strong, hundreds of members have been reassigned or terminated altogether. And, Apple is now focused on building a system that will allow it to partner with other manufacturers or ultimately build its own car someday in the future. On the other hand, Bloomberg reports that sources have indicated that Apple has been hiring new employees to help with the new focus.
Apparently, the team now has a deadline of late next year to prove that it can develop a feasible, self-driving system and must decide on a final direction. If not, the project could be scrapped altogether. All of this comes to light after months of uncertainty, strategy disagreements, and leadership problems within the project’s team. One of Bloomberg’s sources has even said that the project displayed “an incredible failure of leadership” until Bob Mansfield stepped in and gave the project a whole new direction. So, as much as you would like to see an iCar rolling down the street, it doesn’t look like that will be happening anytime soon.
Continue reading for the full story.
Why it Matters
While I’m not exactly fond of the pricing Apple sets for its products, I can openly admit that their products generally outlast the competition and carry value for a long time. There’s no doubt in my mind that an Apple Car would be no different, so it’s a bit of a shame to hear that the project now has a completely different focus. On the other hand, it really isn’t all that surprising, though. Apple is a technology company, not an automotive company. It is quite a venture to go from building phones, computers, and tablets to building a car. It was also reported that high-level executives weren’t prepared to make the necessary investments to automotive suppliers to make the project work. They do it all of the time when sourcing large numbers of parts for computers or phones, but the automotive world is a completely different ball game. On that note, it looks like Apple has conceded. On the other hand, the team may be successful in building a system. In that case, Siri could be driving you to and from work someday – it just won’t happen in a car that has big apple emblem on the hood.
Read our full review on the Apple iCar here.