Apple building large car drive rooms as Project Titan lives on

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 21
Apple's "Project Titan" lives on, as the company is reportedly building large drive rooms in California for continued testing, and developing advanced battery technology.

Mockup of an Apple electric car (based on a Tesla)
Mockup of an Apple electric car (based on a Tesla)


Financial analyst Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners claims that as well as previously trying to buy Tesla, Apple is today very much continuing with its Project Titan car plans.

"Apple is building multiple very large drive rooms in California," Irwin told CNBC. "What does that mean? They're doing something interesting and exciting on the battery side. Project Titan is absolutely not dead."

Irwin was speaking to CNBC about the current financial situation of Tesla, which he says Apple previously bid to buy.

Irwin did not define "drive room," as it pertains to automobiles. However, he meant that Apple is making substantial physical effort into batteries and drive systems for the car. It's possible that he's referring to the kind of facility that AppleInsider discovered in 2015, an undisclosed seven-building campus in Sunnyvale, Cupertino.

At this time, Project Titan was believed to be the genesis of an Apple-branded car. It was thought that Apple was aiming to make a complete vehicle itself and certain published patents appeared to back this up.

However, in 2016, Apple reportedly laid off dozens of Project Titan employees, as it seemed to move toward developing systems for other motor companies instead. Rather than any car hardware, it was apparently going to produce software instead.

At this time, Project Titan was being run by Steve Zadesky but he, too, was let go and instead retired Apple engineering head Bob Mansfield returned to the company to take over.

In 2017, rumors of Apple doing more than just software for self-driving cars surfaced with a report of the company working with Chinese firm Contemporary Amperex Technology on developing batteries. Then the following year, an Apple patent for high-voltage battery power converters in sports cars, surfaced.

Yet Apple was again to lay off more employees in 2019, this time around 200, in what was called a restructuring effort.

However, in March 2019, it was revealed that Apple has hired former Tesla employees including its vice president in charge of powertrains, engineer Michael Schwekutsch.

Extract from a 2019 Apple patent covering extra wide-opening car doors
Extract from a 2019 Apple patent covering extra wide-opening car doors


Most recently, further patents have appeared which cover car doors that open extremely wide, variable light controls, and even a smart seatbelt system.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,679member
    Those Apple layoffs they keep talking about in the automotive division, I can not help but to think about what Elon was says about the people Apple was hiring away from Tesla at the time. Elon said Apple was getting the people Tesla did not want and were not the best people. I am starting to believe Elon, Apple was grabbing people so fast they did not realize what they got and over time figured out these people were not the best of the best. Layoff are not always about downsizing or restructuring, those are convenient reasons to get rid of people which are not measuring up.
    edited May 21
  • Reply 2 of 24
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,811member
    maestro64 said:
    Those Apple layoffs they keep talking about in the automotive division, I can not help but to think about what Elon was says about the people Apple was hiring away from Tesla at the time. Elon said Apple was getting the people Tesla did not want and were not the best people. I am starting to believe Elon, Apple was grabbing people so fast they did not realize what they got and over time figured out these people were not the best of the best. Layoff are not always about downsizing or restructuring, those are convenient reasons to get rid of people which are not measuring up.
    Nice piece of fiction you've written. Got any sources? Because here in real life Apple's hiring process is on of the most challenging in the business. Articles have been written about how difficult it is.

    All this story tells us is that outsiders still have no idea what is going on inside Apple with regards to a car project. Everything is conjecture. 
    edited May 21 SpamSandwichthtwelshdogRayz2016cornchiptipoofastasleeplolliver
  • Reply 3 of 24
    ciacia Posts: 86member
    Tesla has it's ups and downs, but the one thing it has, that no one else does, is a global fast charging network. Single billing, faster then almost anything out there, and easy to find. No other car company has this. It's the ace in the hole for Tesla if you want to leave the 200 mile circle around your house.
    lolliver
  • Reply 4 of 24
    thttht Posts: 3,322member
    Haven’t the double sliding doors, both front and back at the same time, already appeared on many a concept car? They typically are all pillerless so that the fancy interior could be seen. Maybe they have some interesting hinge and slider mechanisms that is patentable, but if so, that should be the interesting part of the patent, not the idea itself.

    But, all those fancy concept car designs are blown away when they have to meet safety standards. As soon as rollover protections, safety system requirements (air bags, side impact, et al), environmental requirements (noise, rain) are met, they either have to add the pillar bag in or the doors become 500 lb monstrosities. 

    My i3 doesn’t have a central pillar, for an out of control designer’s dream I’m sure, and the doors are thick. The vehicle is also <3000 lb, which helps in it being pillarless, but I would trade it for a pillar and a real rear door than the current suicide doors.

    I do like the double sliding door idea though.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    1348513485 Posts: 80member
    Other than the fact that I've always been sure they're building a vehicle of some sort, I confess to having no idea exactly what's going on...which is probably Apple's goal at this point (bus, sports car, Mars rover, autonomous people pod).  Be nice if they finished it before the ocean starts lapping at their doors, or I have to move into a facility where the daily highlight is getting my Depends changed again.
    randominternetpersonAppleExposedlolliverpalomine
  • Reply 6 of 24
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.
  • Reply 7 of 24
    thttht Posts: 3,322member
    welshdog said:
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.
    A driving room could be as simple a pop-up tent in a big parking lot. I don’t think it is that big of deal. It’s but a mere grain of sand on the beach all things considered.

    The big deal is the go-to-market strategy, especially if they want to ramp with say 40k vehicles the first couple of years. They need an assembler and the capital costs aren’t cheap for that. They need to secure components, and the crucial components, the battery and probably the motors too, won’t be cheap and are in short supply. They need a retail strategy, and the current options stink because it is either dealing with the dealer network mafia or be gated by direct sales which is illegal in like 15 states (guessing, don’t know the real number). They need a support strategy. Who will service and fix the cars? They need a charging strategy. CCS or Chademo? They will have to invest billions to get charging stations up and running.

    Who knows about the politics and which politicians they need to convince to make it all work. This is just as important as all the technical stuff of having a working product. There will be bribes. They’ll need to support a network of organizations that continually monitor politicians and what they are doing regarding registration fees, dealer rules, taxes, who knows what else. If anything, this is where Tesla has failed and is failing.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,788member
    maestro64 said:
    Those Apple layoffs they keep talking about in the automotive division, I can not help but to think about what Elon was says about the people Apple was hiring away from Tesla at the time. Elon said Apple was getting the people Tesla did not want and were not the best people. I am starting to believe Elon, Apple was grabbing people so fast they did not realize what they got and over time figured out these people were not the best of the best. Layoff are not always about downsizing or restructuring, those are convenient reasons to get rid of people which are not measuring up.
    Nice piece of fiction you've written. Got any sources? Because here in real life Apple's hiring process is on of the most challenging in the business. Articles have been written about how difficult it is.

    Apple's hiring process seems to go something like this:
    Come up with an idea.
    Implement the idea.
    Become successful with the idea.
    Apple hires you and your idea if it aligns to their goals.

    Apple hires people who don't actually need to work for Apple.

    All this story tells us is that outsiders still have no idea what is going on inside Apple with regards to a car project. Everything is conjecture. 

    Pretty much. But there's clickbait gold in uninformed guesswork.
    JWSCcornchip
  • Reply 9 of 24
    welshdog said:
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.
    How did you come to that conclusion?  Afaik, "drive room" is a term made up by the analyst Irwin.  Further, he said it was battery tech related.  More so, he expands to battery tech and drive systems... hence "drive room" as in propulsion mechanisms.  Simply from a space utilization perspective, a big room to drive in doesn't make any sense.  A test mule disguised as another brand is infinitely more sensible, done all the time, and accomplishes the goal of secrecy with the added bonus of real world driving data.
    fastasleeppalomineiqatedo
  • Reply 10 of 24
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 552member
    maestro64 said:
    Those Apple layoffs they keep talking about in the automotive division, I can not help but to think about what Elon was says about the people Apple was hiring away from Tesla at the time. Elon said Apple was getting the people Tesla did not want and were not the best people. I am starting to believe Elon, Apple was grabbing people so fast they did not realize what they got and over time figured out these people were not the best of the best. Layoff are not always about downsizing or restructuring, those are convenient reasons to get rid of people which are not measuring up.
    It’s a bit of smack talk by Elon.  Because if that were true, why would he have recruited Apple employees working on Titan?
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 11 of 24
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 552member
    tht said:
    welshdog said:
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.
    A driving room could be as simple a pop-up tent in a big parking lot. I don’t think it is that big of deal. It’s but a mere grain of sand on the beach all things considered.
    The pop up tent idea has merit.  Very inexpensive.  But it might get noticed as opposed to some nondescript warehouse in an industrial zone.
    edited May 21
  • Reply 12 of 24
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 552member
    Alternative idea for a driving room.  Sequester one floor of the parking garage underneath the Apple Park spaceship.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 13 of 24
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,695member
    tht said:
    They’ll need to support a network of organizations that continually monitor politicians and what they are doing regarding registration fees, dealer rules, taxes, who knows what else. If anything, this is where Tesla has failed and is failing.
    This is where many high tech firms fail, while the older lower tech companies have done well. AT&T / Southwestern Bell are an example. they went so far as to have what they called "legislative campaigns" in many states. The idea was to create a large media campaign designed to influence members of the legislature. Some ads were intended to get voters to call their reps, or to vote for particular ballot issues. Some ads targeted legislators directly trying to embarrass them into voting for something the company wanted. The upshot was that they got laws favorable to their products and programs passed all over the country. AT&T and SWB ran competing campaigns in many states - like Texas where I live. Once they merged, the need for many of these battles went away. The efforts were successful most of the time, increasing revenue for both companies by hundreds of millions of dollars.  Personally, I think this sort of thing should be illegal since it puts corporations in control of legislatures to an unhealthy degree. 
  • Reply 14 of 24
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,508member
    welshdog said:
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.
    How did you come to that conclusion?  Afaik, "drive room" is a term made up by the analyst Irwin.  Further, he said it was battery tech related.  More so, he expands to battery tech and drive systems... hence "drive room" as in propulsion mechanisms.  Simply from a space utilization perspective, a big room to drive in doesn't make any sense.  A test mule disguised as another brand is infinitely more sensible, done all the time, and accomplishes the goal of secrecy with the added bonus of real world driving data.
    Yes, I think the analyst is blowing smoke. AFAIK, there is no such term (“drive room”) in the automotive industry.
    1STnTENDERBITS
  • Reply 15 of 24
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,314member
    welshdog said:
    tht said:
    They’ll need to support a network of organizations that continually monitor politicians and what they are doing regarding registration fees, dealer rules, taxes, who knows what else. If anything, this is where Tesla has failed and is failing.
    This is where many high tech firms fail, while the older lower tech companies have done well. AT&T / Southwestern Bell are an example. they went so far as to have what they called "legislative campaigns" in many states. The idea was to create a large media campaign designed to influence members of the legislature. Some ads were intended to get voters to call their reps, or to vote for particular ballot issues. Some ads targeted legislators directly trying to embarrass them into voting for something the company wanted. The upshot was that they got laws favorable to their products and programs passed all over the country. AT&T and SWB ran competing campaigns in many states - like Texas where I live. Once they merged, the need for many of these battles went away. The efforts were successful most of the time, increasing revenue for both companies by hundreds of millions of dollars.  Personally, I think this sort of thing should be illegal since it puts corporations in control of legislatures to an unhealthy degree. 
    It's called political PR and it like everything else in the PR realm is protected speech. I've built a ton of those kinds of campaigns. Many of them simply tout infrastructure development and such in various States or legislative districts by the company in question, hardly "controlling legislature." Where would you draw the line?
    JWSC
  • Reply 16 of 24
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 3,314member

    However, in 2016, Apple reportedly laid off dozens of Project Titan employees, as it seemed to move toward developing systems for other motor companies instead. Rather than any car hardware, it was apparently going to produce software instead.

    Yeah, right. Apple developing systems for other car manufacturers was never, ever a thing, except for the types of analysts out there who have no idea how Apple actually works and make shit up based on their completely wrong reading of the tea leaves.
    JWSC
  • Reply 17 of 24
    thttht Posts: 3,322member

    However, in 2016, Apple reportedly laid off dozens of Project Titan employees, as it seemed to move toward developing systems for other motor companies instead. Rather than any car hardware, it was apparently going to produce software instead.
    Yeah, right. Apple developing systems for other car manufacturers was never, ever a thing, except for the types of analysts out there who have no idea how Apple actually works and make shit up based on their completely wrong reading of the tea leaves.
    Yup. This idea is anathema to the very core of what makes Apple “Apple”. They are supposedly spending a billion per year on this. 1000 employees at 200k per year is 200m per year in salaries. Then, they brought Mansfield back to do this. I somehow doubt he came back to develop system software.
    fastasleepJWSCpalomine
  • Reply 18 of 24
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    JWSC said:
    maestro64 said:
    Those Apple layoffs they keep talking about in the automotive division, I can not help but to think about what Elon was says about the people Apple was hiring away from Tesla at the time. Elon said Apple was getting the people Tesla did not want and were not the best people. I am starting to believe Elon, Apple was grabbing people so fast they did not realize what they got and over time figured out these people were not the best of the best. Layoff are not always about downsizing or restructuring, those are convenient reasons to get rid of people which are not measuring up.
    It’s a bit of smack talk by Elon.  Because if that were true, why would he have recruited Apple employees working on Titan?

    Beat me to it. Every time an Apple project is rumored, CEOs in that industry shake in their boots and start talking trash.

    Sony(Apple TV games), Pebble (Apple Watch), etc.
    lolliverStrangeDays
  • Reply 19 of 24
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,690unconfirmed, member
    welshdog said:
    Obviously "driving rooms" means extremely large interior spaces where cars can be driven safe from prying eyes. Not a difficult thing to do, but an expensive one from the standpoint of utilization of real estate square footage. Of course if you own the building then costs moving forward are lower since you aren't paying a building lease.

    Heres the leaks!!!

    Leaks are coming out!!!

    /s


  • Reply 20 of 24
    michelb76michelb76 Posts: 102member
    Perhaps they could make rooms with Mac users so they can see what people are doing and why adding more emoji's to the OS isn't really helpful.
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