The Apple car might be dead before it even hits the road

18 Oct 2016

Apple office in San Francisco. Image: vincenzo mancuso/Shutterstock

Despite once having plans to change the face of the automotive market forever, Apple is reportedly planning to kill the Apple car before it even gets a test drive.

The potential launch of an Apple car with autonomous capabilities has been rumbling along the road for some time now, with leaked details from behind the scene showing the company taking a number of wrong turns along the way.

But now, sources familiar with the project have revealed to Bloomberg that the entire operation appears to be in turmoil. Hundreds of staff assigned to work on the project are getting reassigned, being let go or leaving the company on their own terms.

Since July of this year, the Apple car project dubbed ‘Project Titan’ has been headed by leading Apple engineer Bob Mansfield, who was behind the designs of products like the Apple Watch and MacBook Air.

Despite his prowess in designing hardware, plans for the company to actually design and build its own car appear to have reached a dead end, with Apple’s executives believed to have given the team with dwindling resources until the end of the year to prove its worth.

Reports as recent as last month say that Apple pulled the handbrake on building a car having begun discussions with car manufacturer McLaren and autonomous vehicle technology company, Lit Motors.

Software is now the focus

This came just a few months after it was revealed that the German auto manufacturing giants BMW and Daimler spurned the chance of partnering with Apple on an autonomous car project over data privacy concerns.

For those remaining Apple employees who have either kept their job or believe in the Apple car project, the focus of their work will be on the software behind its autonomous driving programs, sensors and testing simulators.

Project Titan is also believed to have an entire group dedicated to ensuring everything complies with all the regulatory hurdles found in the auto industry.

While it was once revealed that a launch year for the Apple car would be 2019, based on these latest developments, it appears it will be a long road ahead for Project Titan.

Apple office in San Francisco. Image: vincenzo mancuso/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic