Apple abandons plans to build self-driving cars

Writing for the New York Times, Daisuke Wakabayashi recently recounted how, as new employees were introduced to Apple’s clandestine efforts to build a self-driving vehicle, they were told that they had the privilege of being involved in a major Apple breakthrough —a car that will eventually turn the automotive industry on its head.

Nowadays, however, the company has become more realistic. It has put any idea of a self-driving Apple car on ice and is instead merely researching self-driving technology.

The company is planning a self-driving shuttle service that transports workers from one Apple building to the next. This will most likely be a commercial vehicle from a car manufacturer which Apple will utilise to test its self-driving technology.

The New York Times discussed the mistakes that forced Apple to scale back its plans for a self-driving car with five individuals who are familiar with the company’s autonomous car project, code name “Titan”.

From the start, those involved with Project Titan tested features such as silently closing motorised doors and ways to design a car without foot pedals or a steering wheel. They also worked on adding augmented reality or virtual reality into the vehicle’s interior display.

Apple quite literally tried to reinvent the wheel — Project Titan examined the possibility of replacing traditional wheels with spherical ones, similar to a globe, because these would allow for improved lateral movement.

Reportedly, the scaled-down project will align the Cupertino-based tech giant more closely with similar technology firms that are also researching self-driving cars, but Apple itself doesn’t plan on building any.

The revised programme is known as PAIL, or Palo Alto to Infinite Loop, based on the street location of the firm’s head office in Cupertino, which is a couple of miles from Palo Alto.


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