Apple has moderated its ambitions to release a car, the Apple Car.. If initially the company was going to release a completely unmanned car, now Apple’s plans include a more traditional electric car only with an advanced driver assistance system. In addition, Apple again postponed the project implementation deadline, writes Bloomberg.
Apple's electric car project, Project Titan, has been underway since 2014.. The release date of the car has already been postponed many times, the project’s leaders have changed several times, as well as layoffs in the development team and the strategy has changed. Since 2021, the project has been headed by Apple Vice President Kevin Lynch, but it was not possible to avoid another change in strategy.
Initially, Apple planned to release a completely self-driving car — its level 5 autopilot system was supposed to allow users not to participate in driving the car at all. At the end of 2022, it was reported that the Cupertino company intended to release a car by 2026 with advanced autonomous driving functions on highways, that is, with a third-level autopilot.
Now that Apple won't be able to make a car like this anytime soon, the company is moving on to simpler driver assistance features.. They will match the current capabilities of Tesla electric vehicles. The car will use a Level 2+ driver assistance system.
The new strategy was adopted after a series of working meetings, which included representatives of the Apple board of directors, project leader Kevin Lynch and the company's chief executive officer Tim Cook.. According to the interlocutors, the board of directors has been putting pressure on Apple management for several months about the plan to release the car.
Kevin Lynch. Image source: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Creating an electric car has been one of the company's most expensive R&D projects for most of the last decade.. Apple spent hundreds of millions of dollars a year on salaries, cloud systems to control the Autopilot system, testing on closed roads and developing parts and chips for the car.. Apple has spent years developing powertrains, self-driving hardware and software, vehicle interiors and exteriors, and other key components.. And yet the car was never able to successfully reach the prototype stage. Company executives are hopeful that this will finally happen with the new approach, people familiar with the matter say.
Uncertainty plagued the project for many years. Former Project Titan chief Doug Field left the company in 2021 in part because he didn't believe senior management would ever officially approve the car's release.. Even with the new plan, some Apple executives are skeptical that the car will ever generate the kind of profits the company makes from the iPhone.. Still, the $100,000 car, which you can't expect anything less from Apple, will drive revenue growth and help Apple gain a foothold in the growing electric car sector.
The new car plan is being viewed internally as a Tesla-like product.. It won't break any new ground, but the company hopes the car will stand out with its sleek design, safety features and unique user interface.