After reports that Apple had suspended its not-so-secret electric vehicle plans, code-named Project Titan, leading to layoffs and a shuffle of management, new reports indicate the company has shifted focus to autonomous driving.
Instead of trying to build its own electric car—and competing against a rising number of car start-up companies and entrenched automotive OEMs—Apple is apparently going to focus now on building an autonomous driving system that it can sell to car makers for use in their own vehicles. The report, from Bloomberg, also indicates that there is a quick timetable for this autonomous driving technology to get off the ground, with a deadline for a demonstration being set by the end of 2017.
Project Titan was viewed as a way for Apple to enter not just the car market with its own vehicle, but also to further push its brand, which has become essential for some consumers. However, building smartphones and tablets is one thing; vehicles is a whole other animal. Reports indicate Apple struggled with the intricacies of the automotive market, ending in the company moving away from building its own proprietary vehicle.
The reason for such a quick timetable in developing an autonomous system is no doubt the result of the myriad of companies that have been quickly developing their own plans. From Tesla, to Volvo, to Nissan, to Uber, to Nvidia and many others, autonomous driving has become an important project and a rapidly developing subject of fierce competition.
And some trials have already begun, including Volvo’s test in Sweden (Read: Volvo Begins Autonomous Driving Project in Sweden), Uber’s project in Pittsburgh (Read: Video: Uber Begins Self-Driving Ride-Hailing Service in Pittsburgh) and nuTonomy’s Robo-Taxis in Singapore (Read: nuTonomy Begins Self-Driving Car Trials in Singapore for “Robo-Taxis”).