01 October 2016
Project Titan is dead. Apple is not building a driverless car anymore. Apple is laying off dozens of its project employees and has abandoned car-related efforts altogether. Instead of producing a self-driving car, the company has shifted focus to work on backbone autonomous vehicle technology. The reason behind Apple’s decision would be slow progress.
Signs of trouble emerged last September, as sources indicated top executives were unhappy with the slow progress of project Titan. Estimates were immediately released that the production of the Apple Car would not see release until 2021, as the team faced mounting unforeseen obstacles. The NYT claims Apple had already been testing fully autonomous vehicles in closed facilities. The evaluation site is unknown, though reports last year indicate Apple was looking into renting out time at GoMentum, a former naval base in California converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles. Apple’s decision to switch to tech only comes at the cost of dozens of its project’ employees.
But on a positive note: Apple is still looking into the technology. The niche could have lost a major influencers. Bob Mansfield, former vice president of engineering, now assumed control of Project Titan following the departure of former project head Steve Zadesky. This year Apple also hired founder and former CEO of QNX Dan Dodge. Acquired by BlackBerry in 2010, QNX specializes in embedded operating systems, particularly those applied to in-car infotainment solutions.
Immediately after the layoffs, the Financial Times reported talks between Apple and British car manufacturer McLaren, for a possible acquisition. McLaren is most famous in the UK for its high-end race cars. McLaren spokesmen denied being in any kind of discussion with Apple.
News tags: Apple