'Apple Car' project to choose new direction in late 2017 - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Apple's "Project Titan" has indeed scaled back to focus on self-driving technology -- specifically giving it the opportunity to either partner with existing automaker or return to developing its own car later on, a report said on Monday.









Hundreds of people on the Titan team have either left on their own, or been reassigned or cut, sources told Bloomberg. The remaining staff have allegedly been given a late 2017 deadline to prove the practicality of the self-driving technology, at which point the company is expected to decide on a final direction.



The company has reportedly been keeping the remaining Titan team's numbers steady though, hiring people to support the new track.



Initially Project Titan was rumored to involve an Apple-made electric car delivered by 2019 or 2020. Towards the end of 2015 however the program experienced "an incredible failure of leadership," according to one source, in which managers fought over where Titan was going. Project leader Steve Zadesky left earlier this year.



From there, Zadesky is said to have handed control to senior VP of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio, and then Bob Mansfield, who in April came out of part-time status to help.



In May Mansfield is said to have announced the new Titan strategy "in a Silicon Valley auditorium packed with hundreds of Titan employees," according to Bloomberg, explaining that after an evaluation, he decided Apple shouldn't compete directly with Tesla, which already has several electric cars on the market and is working steadily towards full self-driving systems.



The first round of layoffs is said to have hit in August, followed by another in September. Over 120 software engineers working on a car OS and testing procedures were tossed, and several hundred hardware engineers working on things like a chassis, suspension, and an undercarriage vanished.



John Wright -- an experienced Apple manager who led software efforts -- is now gone, while Dan Dodge, the creator of BlackBerry's QNX car platform, assumed a bigger role in developing Apple's platform architecture.



The people still on Titan are said to be crafting not just self-driving code but sensors and simulators for real-world testing. Regulatory experts are onboard to cope with laws governing the car industry.



The original vision for Titan was supposedly a car that would detect its driver via fingerprint and then drive them anywhere. At one point the company was considering a partially autonomous car that still had a steering wheel and pedals, but plans eventually became more ambitious.



Another factor that may have pulled Apple away from its own car is the automotive supply chain, one source said. While Apple is used to being able to extert heavy control over suppliers for devices like the iPhone, the company may have discovered that auto parts makers would be less eager to commit to an Apple vehicle, given the deeper expenses involved, and Apple likely producing vehicles in small initial numbers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 84
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,088member
    Blathering speculation. Rumors of changes to a rumored plan, rumored to be behind schedule. No facts, no confirmation, no evidence, no nothing, just rumors from “sources.” This is either just pure fantasy invented by tech bloggers with too much time on their hands or leaked propaganda from Apple to direct away from their real objective. Either way it’s baloney. But baloney sells doesn’t it. I had a baloney sandwich yesterday.

    And what’s with the dumbass conceptual picture of Apple’s rumored vehicle? More fantasy dreamed up by some wannabe graphic artist?
    edited October 2016 macxpresswatto_cobranapoleon_phoneapartsmiffy31stanhopebdkennedy1002anantksundaramentropysnolamacguymattinoz
  • Reply 2 of 84
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,446member
    Lets just throw shit at the wall and see if it sticks...the theme of today's journalism! 
    watto_cobrabdkennedy1002lkruppentropys
  • Reply 3 of 84
    Aside from the technical allure, one of the aspects of cars ideally suited to Apple is that it's an object that people already actually love. Related is that one's car choice is considered as a statement of self. 
    longpath
  • Reply 4 of 84
    Apple needs to kill this project. Existing automakers aren't going to abandon their autonomy efforts to partner with Apple and CarPlay shows us what happens when Apple doesn't control the entire experience.

    No doubt Elon Musk is feeling quite smug right now.
    sflagelmelodyof1974repressthisaylk
  • Reply 5 of 84
    "and several hundred hardware engineers working on things like a chassis, suspension, and an undercarriage vanished."

    Dang. Cook is running Apple in a rather Stalinesque manner!
    fastasleep
  • Reply 6 of 84
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,725member
    lkrupp said:
    Blathering speculation. Rumors of changes to a rumored plan, rumored to be behind schedule. No facts, no confirmation, no evidence, no nothing, just rumors from “sources.” This is either just pure fantasy invented by tech bloggers with too much time on their hands or leaked propaganda from Apple to direct away from their real objective. Either way it’s baloney. But baloney sells doesn’t it. I had a baloney sandwich yesterday.

    And what’s with the dumbass conceptual picture of Apple’s rumored vehicle? More fantasy dreamed up by some wannabe graphic artist?
    Much of the story research is attributed to Mark Gurman, now a Bloomberg editor, who at least in the past has given every appearance of having some fairly reliable inside Apple source(s). 
    xixo
  • Reply 7 of 84
    I already have a self driving car, it's called mass transit. 
    sflagelxixoanantksundaramh2paylk
  • Reply 8 of 84
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,408member
    Thankfully Apple does all of its work behind closed doors, focusing on determining the correct path for products.  And bringing them to market when they can make a difference.
    watto_cobrapatchythepiratecali
  • Reply 9 of 84
    lkrupp said:
    Blathering speculation. Rumors of changes to a rumored plan, rumored to be behind schedule. No facts, no confirmation, no evidence, no nothing, just rumors from “sources.” This is either just pure fantasy invented by tech bloggers with too much time on their hands or leaked propaganda from Apple to direct away from their real objective. Either way it’s baloney. But baloney sells doesn’t it. I had a baloney sandwich yesterday.

    And what’s with the dumbass conceptual picture of Apple’s rumored vehicle? More fantasy dreamed up by some wannabe graphic artist?
    Wow... taking time out from yelling at the kids to get off your lawn?
    xixorepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 84
    Self driving cars to me an solution to a problem that does not need one. I know a lot of people die in car accidents each year but unless all standard cars are replaced with self operational cars people will still get into crashes for various reasons. I am sure these vehicles will be very expensive and out of reach to most Americans, this whole effort smells like a Silicon Valley billionaire wet dream more than a Ford Model T solution. I suppose Apple is spending a lot of money and energy in how to make cars safer but ultimately software and hardware failures still exists in products no matter how advance they are. Who hasn't had an iPhone or other smart phone "crash" or fail completely? 
    h2pcali
  • Reply 11 of 84
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 570member
    lkrupp said:
    Blathering speculation. Rumors of changes to a rumored plan, rumored to be behind schedule. No facts, no confirmation, no evidence, no nothing, just rumors from “sources.” This is either just pure fantasy invented by tech bloggers with too much time on their hands or leaked propaganda from Apple to direct away from their real objective. Either way it’s baloney. But baloney sells doesn’t it. I had a baloney sandwich yesterday.

    And what’s with the dumbass conceptual picture of Apple’s rumored vehicle? More fantasy dreamed up by some wannabe graphic artist?
    What do you require, certified copies of emails and audio recordings? There are a lot of articles on this website that are just speculative, but this report is a list of information provided by first party sources. Besides, the article is not speculating about anything, it is pointing out that there is nothing to speculate about until end 2017.




    xixo
  • Reply 12 of 84
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,147member
    spice-boy said:
    Self driving cars to me an solution to a problem that does not need one. I know a lot of people die in car accidents each year but unless all standard cars are replaced with self operational cars people will still get into crashes for various reasons. I am sure these vehicles will be very expensive and out of reach to most Americans, this whole effort smells like a Silicon Valley billionaire wet dream more than a Ford Model T solution. I suppose Apple is spending a lot of money and energy in how to make cars safer but ultimately software and hardware failures still exists in products no matter how advance they are. Who hasn't had an iPhone or other smart phone "crash" or fail completely? 


    Can not agree more, it is a solution for the few not the many.  Who wants a hand me down self driving car which you may not be capable of working on. Without going to a dealer and paying top $ for US worker who need to live in Million $ homes to work on your car. I personally work on my cars and I know the cost to go to the dealer to fix things. I work on cars because it is something I enjoy, but most people I know do not and as soon as they see that first expensive repair they want to get rid of the car and buy a new one. Even cars are becoming throw away items but most people can not afford to keep buying new.

    The biggest issue for self driving cars is, other human drivers on the road, and weather these cars work great until they have to deal with anything but sunny weather conditions.

    spice-boy
  • Reply 13 of 84
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,446member
    Apple needs to kill this project. Existing automakers aren't going to abandon their autonomy efforts to partner with Apple and CarPlay shows us what happens when Apple doesn't control the entire experience.

    No doubt Elon Musk is feeling quite smug right now.
    Never underestimate what Apple is doing. By this thinking, I guess Google should also just kill their project too? I mean Chrysler is only working with Google for the same stuff as we speak. But, nobody wants this kind of stuff right? :rollseyes Nobody wanted CarPlay either. Why would Apple invent something like that when most manufacturers already have infotainment systems. 

    I think Apple see's a different place it can play in. Its like looking to build mansions for the community, but then realizing they would be better suited to build 4 bedroom houses instead. 
    palominecalifastasleep
  • Reply 14 of 84
    juandljuandl Posts: 228member
    With as many advances they have done on drones and batteries.  It is probably better to go the Jetsons route. Get there first
  • Reply 15 of 84
    I want self-flying helicopter just like the one in Iron Man. 
  • Reply 16 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    Looking at the way this report veers all over the road without actually committing to any particular lane, I'm guessing that the source is Tim Cook's gardener. 
    entropys
  • Reply 17 of 84
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,468member
    "and several hundred hardware engineers working on things like a chassis, suspension, and an undercarriage vanished."

    Dang. Cook is running Apple in a rather Stalinesque manner!
    Had a similar thought, more along the lines of a south american dictatorship though.
    king editor the grateentropys
  • Reply 18 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    I want self-flying helicopter just like the one in Iron Man. 
    I'd settle for the iron suit. 
  • Reply 19 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    As long as the batteries aren't fitted by Samsung. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 84
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,797member
    wizard69 said:
    "and several hundred hardware engineers working on things like a chassis, suspension, and an undercarriage vanished."

    Dang. Cook is running Apple in a rather Stalinesque manner!
    Had a similar thought, more along the lines of a south american dictatorship though.
    Someone needs to check the foundations under the new HQ. 
    king editor the gratecalientropys
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