Six years after Apple was first rumoured to be making a move into the automotive industry, the tech giant is now thought to be gearing up to launch a self-driving car in 2024.
The iPhone maker’s Project Titan has “proceeded unevenly since 2014 when it first started to design its own vehicle from scratch”, Reuters reports. And in January 2019, under the new leadership of Doug Field, Tesla’s former senior vice-president of engineering, Apple laid off more than 200 employees who were working on its secretive autonomous car programme.
However, people familiar with the project say the company is now “moving forward” and its passenger vehicle could include its “own breakthrough battery technology”.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Apple’s plans are not public but the sources say that the firm has “progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle for consumers”. One of the key elements of the project’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” reduce the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, Reuters adds.
Someone who worked on Project Titan said: “If there is one company on the planet that has the resources to do that, it’s probably Apple. But at the same time, it’s not a cellphone.”
Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that Apple has moved its self-driving car unit under the leadership of top artificial intelligence executive John Giannandrea. He will “oversee the company’s continued work on an autonomous system that could eventually be used in its own car”.
However, says TechCrunch, it’s “unclear what the vehicle will look like, who will be the manufacturing partner or if the self-driving system will be part of the car or offered as a software product to other companies”.
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.