Apple bolsters 'Project Titan' self-driving software team with former QNX CEO

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
To flesh out the advanced software needed for a self-driving automobile, Apple has reportedly hired talent away from former high-profile rival and now-beleaguered BlackBerry and its QNX division.




Dan Dodge, founder and former CEO of QNX, left BlackBerry for Apple earlier this year, according to Bloomberg. Sources indicated that Dodge works on Apple's "Project Titan" electric vehicle team, which is under the supervision of Bob Mansfield, a hardware engineer and former executive at the company.

Dodge stepped down as CEO of QNX last September. QNX specializes in embedded operating systems, particularly in vehicles, and was acquired by BlackBerry in 2010.

The QNX operating system was also modified to run on BlackBerry's ill-fated PlayBook tablet, and is also the basis for the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Sources indicated to Bloomberg that Dodge has joined Apple at a time that the company is focused on developing the brains behind "Project Titan," the code name for its self-driving car initiative.




Apple is said to be focused on flexibility -- standalone autonomous driving software could allow the iPhone maker to partner with existing automakers, for example. The report noted, however, that Apple is "not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle."

Notably, Thursday's report said that a so-called "Apple Car" could hit the road "as soon as 2020." That stands in contrast to a report from just one week ago, claiming that Apple's own internal timeline had been delayed, pushing the project back to 2021.

Though Apple has remained mum on "Project Titan," AppleInsider has traced breadcrumbs to unearth details about the effort, including the discovery of a secretive facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., believed to be the home base for development. There, Apple is believed to have hidden behind a shell corporation named SixtyEight Research LLC.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Technology from Dodge guides Car.
    Soli
  • Reply 2 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    cnocbui said:
    Technology from Dodge guides Car.
    Sounds like a NYTimes headline to me.
    monstrositypatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,684member
    Apple is said to be focused on flexibility -- standalone autonomous driving software could allow the iPhone maker to partner with existing automakers, for example. The report noted, however, that Apple is "not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle."
    The Apple car is happening. The Apple car brains in other cars is not. Wall St. will say anything to manipulate stocks.
    edited July 2016 slprescottlollivercali
  • Reply 4 of 24
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,540member
    Interesting that it was such a high-level exec.  Implies they are looking at recruitment support to pick off the top QNX talent, as well as scaling the program.
    lolliver
  • Reply 5 of 24
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member
    Just keep in mind that Apple effectively has an unlimited supply of capital to devote to this endeavor. Tesla and others do not, including the big three in Detroit. If Apple needs to build a $20 billion dollar assembly plant in the Arizona desert they can without batting an eyelash.
    edited July 2016 lolliverradarthekatcalibadmonkpalomine
  • Reply 6 of 24
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,331member
    brucemc said:
    Interesting that it was such a high-level exec.  Implies they are looking at recruitment support to pick off the top QNX talent, as well as scaling the program.
    It's more than just an executive. Dodge is co-founder and co-author of the SW for this successful company started in the 1980s. He holds a masters degree in mathematics, if I recall correctly.
    dysamorialolliver
  • Reply 7 of 24
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member
    ireland said:
    Apple is said to be focused on flexibility -- standalone autonomous driving software could allow the iPhone maker to partner with existing automakers, for example. The report noted, however, that Apple is "not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle."
    The Apple car is happening. The Apple car brains in other cars is not. Wall St. will say anything to manipulate stocks.
    Can a Samsung “me too” announcement be far behind? But then Samsung itself is abysmally incompetent when it comes to software.
    mwhitecali
  • Reply 8 of 24
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,407member
    lkrupp said:
    ireland said:
    The Apple car is happening. The Apple car brains in other cars is not. Wall St. will say anything to manipulate stocks.
    Can a Samsung “me too” announcement be far behind? But then Samsung itself is abysmally incompetent when it comes to software.
    In fairness, Samsung already makes a car, through their joint venture with Renault.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    Didn't AI run a story earlier this year about Jony Ive being unhappy with the progress of the car team and a hiring freeze being put in place? Is that perhaps what caused Cook to step in and have Bob Mansfield lead the project? We don't really know what Bob has been doing at Apple these past couple years. It does me me wonder how strong Dan Riccio is. He's the head of hardware engineering yet Jeff Williams has the Watch and now Bob Mansfield is overseeing the car.
    edited July 2016 cali
  • Reply 10 of 24
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    lkrupp said:
    Just keep in mind that Apple effectively has an unlimited supply of capital to devote to this endeavor. Tesla and others do not, including the big three in Detroit. If Apple needs to build a $20 billion dollar assembly plant in the Arizona desert they can without batting an eyelash.
    well that would be almost 10% of their cash; not quite not batting an eyelash.
    califastasleep
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Apple was rumored to be creating their own TV for years, and then just stuck with selling the box and making more of a services play...I think the same thing will happen with cars. Their cars, built entirely for internal use, will help make better software, which can be implemented into other cars and be extremely lucrative. Hence the investment in the ride-hailing company Didi. Imagine if Apple's forthcoming automobile software generated a royalty for every mile a car travels. This could be the mother of all markets.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,055member
    lkrupp said:
    Just keep in mind that Apple effectively has an unlimited supply of capital to devote to this endeavor. Tesla and others do not, including the big three in Detroit. If Apple needs to build a $20 billion dollar assembly plant in the Arizona desert they can without batting an eyelash.
    well that would be almost 10% of their cash; not quite not batting an eyelash.
    10% of their global cash.  They might struggle to put up a sum that large in the US without a bond sale or some significant accounting movements.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Didn't AI run a story earlier this year about Jony Ive being unhappy with the progress of the car team and a hiring freeze being put in place? Is that perhaps what caused Cook to step in and have Bob Mansfield lead the project? We don't really know what Bob has been doing at Apple these past couple years. It does me me wonder how strong Dan Riccio is. He's the head of hardware engineering yet Jeff Williams has the Watch and now Bob Mansfield is overseeing the car.


    Probably means this was just too much on his plate. Those are massive complex projects, all of them, and one person, especially if they're involved at an engineering level, can't be involved in all of it.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    tokyojimutokyojimu Posts: 422member
    Glad to see the Apple Car will be running Unix. Hopefully I'll be able to schedule cron jobs.

    01 * * * * /bin/radio --on --frequency 89.5

    to get my top-of-the-hour news.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 15 of 24
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,213member
    VChile123 said:
    Apple was rumored to be creating their own TV for years, and then just stuck with selling the box and making more of a services play...I think the same thing will happen with cars. Their cars, built entirely for internal use, will help make better software, which can be implemented into other cars and be extremely lucrative. Hence the investment in the ride-hailing company Didi. Imagine if Apple's forthcoming automobile software generated a royalty for every mile a car travels. This could be the mother of all markets.
    Except Apple didn't integrate tvOS into Samsung and LG TVs; they have their own box which is completely independent from the TV. When has Apple ever successfully been a piece of technology in someone else's product? For the most part CarPlay is just projected UI from the iPhone. But what if Apple's play was to build vehicles for ride sharing services? I think attempting to work with existing automakers is just a hedge in case their own vehicle ambitions don't pan out.
    VChile123cali
  • Reply 16 of 24
    VChile123 said:
    Apple was rumored to be creating their own TV for years, and then just stuck with selling the box and making more of a services play...I think the same thing will happen with cars. Their cars, built entirely for internal use, will help make better software, which can be implemented into other cars and be extremely lucrative. Hence the investment in the ride-hailing company Didi. Imagine if Apple's forthcoming automobile software generated a royalty for every mile a car travels. This could be the mother of all markets.
    Except Apple didn't integrate tvOS into Samsung and LG TVs; they have their own box which is completely independent from the TV. When has Apple ever successfully been a piece of technology in someone else's product? For the most part CarPlay is just projected UI from the iPhone. But what if Apple's play was to build vehicles for ride sharing services? I think attempting to work with existing automakers is just a hedge in case their own vehicle ambitions don't pan out.

    Yes, it's difficult to imagine Apple as only a cog in the machine of anything, including cars. But I also wonder how Apple can sell an entire hardware/software ecosystem in this space, given Tesla's growing skill sets in building across different automobile price points and types of automobiles, and their infrastructural leverage in buying Solar City.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,055member
    When has Apple ever successfully been a piece of technology in someone else's product? 
    iTunes for Windows?
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 24
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    VChile123 said:
    Apple was rumored to be creating their own TV for years, and then just stuck with selling the box and making more of a services play...I think the same thing will happen with cars. Their cars, built entirely for internal use, will help make better software, which can be implemented into other cars and be extremely lucrative. Hence the investment in the ride-hailing company Didi. Imagine if Apple's forthcoming automobile software generated a royalty for every mile a car travels. This could be the mother of all markets.
    Except Apple didn't integrate tvOS into Samsung and LG TVs; they have their own box which is completely independent from the TV. When has Apple ever successfully been a piece of technology in someone else's product? For the most part CarPlay is just projected UI from the iPhone. But what if Apple's play was to build vehicles for ride sharing services? I think attempting to work with existing automakers is just a hedge in case their own vehicle ambitions don't pan out.

    I figured they would do both. Consumer cars and special cars for Didi. I'm not sure if having the same exact car model as taxis is attractive to the consumer.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    VChile123 said:
    Except Apple didn't integrate tvOS into Samsung and LG TVs; they have their own box which is completely independent from the TV. When has Apple ever successfully been a piece of technology in someone else's product? For the most part CarPlay is just projected UI from the iPhone. But what if Apple's play was to build vehicles for ride sharing services? I think attempting to work with existing automakers is just a hedge in case their own vehicle ambitions don't pan out.

    Yes, it's difficult to imagine Apple as only a cog in the machine of anything, including cars. But I also wonder how Apple can sell an entire hardware/software ecosystem in this space, given Tesla's growing skill sets in building across different automobile price points and types of automobiles, and their infrastructural leverage in buying Solar City.
    Tesla's barely able to not lose all its shit. Seriously, they better get their financial and QA house together or they'll lose everything.
    palomine
  • Reply 20 of 24
    IanSIanS Posts: 33member
    brucemc said:
    Interesting that it was such a high-level exec.  Implies they are looking at recruitment support to pick off the top QNX talent, as well as scaling the program.
    Not only has Apple hired QNX's CEO they also opened a new office here in Ottawa home of QNX.
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