The company’s Project Titan is reportedly being scaled back as engineers doubt the fully autonomous concept is possible with current technology.
Apple’s self-driving car plans have hit a roadblock, with launch delays and a scale-back of its autonomous features, according to a Bloomberg report.
The company’s Project Titan – as it is dubbed – has been in the works since 2014 with the aim of creating the world’s first fully autonomous vehicle. The ambition was to create a car with no steering wheel or pedals, along with a limousine-like interior.
But engineers and executives are said to be thinking that the goal is not possible with current technology. The vehicle design is being scaled back to include a steering wheel and pedals, with autonomous features only available on highways, sources told Bloomberg.
A report last year suggested the vehicle would be ready for launch in 2025. But now, this is being delayed until 2026, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
The project has faced several setbacks since 2014, including losses in its executive team in recent years.
Doug Field, who headed the company’s car efforts for three years, left Apple in September 2021. Mark Gurman, journalist and Apple expert, tweeted at the time that Field’s departure was “probably the largest setback” for Apple’s car project, with the expected launch date “further out now, if ever”.
Apple has taken measures to bolster its team since Field’s departure. He was replaced by Kevin Lynch, who also spearheads Apple’s watch and health units.
In May, Apple hired long-time Ford executive Desi Ujkashevic to bring her experience and expertise to Project Titan. It then hired Luigi Taraborrelli in July, who had been at Lamborghini for more than two decades.
Companies with more experience in the automotive sector have also struggled to make self-driving cars a reality. In June, self-driving car business Cruise became the first to secure approval to operate a commercial taxi service using driverless cars in California. But this service was not without its issues.
In November, an activist hedge fund urged Google parent company Alphabet to cut back on its ‘Other Bets’ division, which includes autonomous vehicle company Waymo. TCI Fund Management said enthusiasm for self-driving cars “has collapsed” and noted that Ford and Volkswagen recently pulled the plug on their self-driving car ventures.
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