While every other tech and automobile behemoth is pushing hard to develop and test its own self-driving vehicle, Apple, it seems, is still lurking in the shadows. The company, as New York Times suggests, is rethinking its ambitious plans for the self-driving car and has shut down some major parts of its project. It has also laid off about several dozen employees in the process, say sources close to the development.
Also, a very important piece of information has surfaced during this report. Though we have ourselves reported more than a couple times that the Cupertino giant is working on a self-driving car, but there have never solid evidence or a nod from Apple. They’ve never actually acknowledged that they’re devoting hours developing the next self-driving car.
The recent ‘reboot’ in the strategy for Apple’s secretive autonomous car initiative, codenamed ‘Project Titan’, means that the company is moving away from building its own electric car to focus on developing self-driving software. This change has been undertaken by Bob Mansfield. He is an Apple veteran who has taken over the project in July, to turn it around and make some actual progress instead of living in the unknown. Prior to Mansfield, the secretive project was spearheaded by Steven Zadesky, who left the company earlier this year.
Due to difficulties in initially trying to develop an autonomous electric car, Mansfield has refined focus on developing software for these cars. In the process, he has also brought under control the mounting issues of the division ballooning to over 1,000 employees in the past eighteen months. Thus, he has also axed the personnel, he thought, are no longer required after the restructuring.
Also since it is now focusing more on software, which it does best, the tech giant has already progressed to real-life testing on a closed track. And if truth be told, and as you may already know, Apple isn’t the only competitor in the self-driving car ecosystem.
Google, the key player in this ecosystem has been designing and testing its own hardware and technology for years now and is still not ready to debut it on the roads. But, it is certain to make the push soon as it has decided to expand its Waze carpooling app and that might be its way out to the world(firstly, San Francisco).
Uber, on the other hand, is also another player who’s been mulling over its self-driving tech and testing it in the streets of Pittsburgh for the past couple of months. It is now also planning to introduce a public beta, following nuTonomy, in the city of Pittsburgh in partnership with Volvo. It has recently acquired another startup Otto for about $700 million, to bring on-board some of the brilliant minds and tech in robotics and autonomous tech. Other tech giants entering the space are Baidu, BYD and Samsung who’ve recently completed various partnerships to expand their scope.