Apple’s Project Titan, which was launched two years ago to release an entirely autonomous car around 2020, has been scaled back substantially – and will now just focus on self-driving software rather than vehicles themselves.
Apple’s COO Jeff Williams said back in 2015: “The car is the ultimate mobile device, isn’t it?”. Yet now, Bloomberg have released an extensive report on the the project, revealing that the tech giant’s project has been plagued by a string of problems since the outset. Documented issues include disagreements between project leaders on the direction the project should take, an absence of a clear concept, staff turnover, and supply chain challenges.
Meanwhile, the New York Times have reported from sources that ‘dozens’ of staff have been laid off from the project as it scales back.
Since Project Titan was launched, several competitors in the autonomous vehicle space have sped ahead with progress, leaving Apple flailing behind. It was the company’s first venture into the autonomous car market, and it seems now they may believe it’s been a misjudgement.
The project’s leaders have a year to now prove to Apple bosses the commerciality of the self-driving software that they intend to produce. However, there’s speculation already over the viability of such a product. Yahoo Finance tech editor Daniel Howley notes that an Apple self-driving software system is nowhere near as attractive for iPhone devotees as an Apple self-driving car, and notes that other companies that are working on their own self-driving products are naturally developing their own software systems as well; so Apple must come up with something far superior in quality and cost efficiency to all of those systems in order to survive in this line of work.
This all said, Apple have yet to acknowledge the project at all, keeping their ambitions firmly under wraps for now. However, they have been linked with the car market in various capacities by several media outlets in recent months – including the Financial Times quoting three sources that are said to have knowledge of the tech firm looking to invest in or buy McLaren.
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Author Lex Barber