Apple To Focus On Driverless Technology As Car Development Takes Back Seat

6 months ago by Eric Loveday 32

Apple Car?

Apple Car?

Apple Car ?

Apple Car ?

According to recent reports, Apple will intensify its focus on autonomous driving technology, while at the same time putting development of its secret electric car (“Project Titan”) on the back burner.

As Autocar reports:

“It’s now emerged that Dan Dodge, the former head of Blackberry’s automotive software division, has been signed up to work on the project…”

“According to sources interviewed by Bloomberg, Dodge’s appointment shows a change of strategy from Apple as it focuses efforts on developing a self-driving system, giving it the option of partnering with an existing car maker, rather than building a car itself…”

This change in direction may have been prompted by the recent high-profile Tesla Autopilot incident. Perhaps Apple is trying to get ahead of Tesla in self-driving technology?

Whatever the case may be, it seems that both programs are still on for Apple…building a car and developing autonomous tech, but the latter now seems to be the area of more intense focus.

Apple still reportedly targets 2020 or 2021 for the release of its first electric car on the market – which is 12-24 months behind initial speculation.

Source: Autocar

Tags: , , ,

32 responses to "Apple To Focus On Driverless Technology As Car Development Takes Back Seat"

  1. mx9000 says:

    Tesla, hiring the best, and using Apple’s design philosophy got there first.

    Apple needs to shore up it’s computer line, and fix the reliability of Mac OS X, esp. on faster processors, lots of crashing.

    It needs more innovation in the phone line.
    It needs new features that pull in new buyers.

    1. Texas FFE says:

      Why does everything with you guys have to be about Tesla? Tesla didn’t make the world and probably won’t be around when the world ends, did you ever think about that?

      1. RexxSee says:

        Because Tesla is the only one genuinely giving all they got to help the world abandon FFE (Fossil Fuel Energy) burning with the best cars there is.
        You never notice the fake compliance-only competition from all the others?

        1. Texas FFE says:

          Wrong, Tesla is giving everything they’ve got to bilk billions from investors. Tesla is not interested in promoting electric vehicle progress or else they would work with other manufacturers instead of against them. Tesla is only interested in the image, not the reality, that they are saving the world and they are perfectly willing to spend billions of dollars of other people’s money to project that image.

          By-the-way, you Tesla worshippers are just obnoxious.

          1. Clive says:

            And then ?

            1. Texas FFE says:

              Tesla goes bankrupt and blames everybody else for their failure. Tesla could have come from behind to become a leader, like Hyundai, but instead Tesla, and it’s fans, choose to get to the top by stumping on tradition and doing their best to belittle everyone else. Even if Tesla doesn’t fail there are going to be a lot of people that are never going to like this company.

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Texas FFE whined:

            “Tesla is not interested in promoting electric vehicle progress or else they would work with other manufacturers instead of against them.”

            It’s really sad when someone starts believing their own lies.

            “By-the-way, you Tesla worshippers are just obnoxious.”

            Yeah, it’s just terrible how we keep refuting your FUD with actual facts. Facts such as Tesla offering to share its patents with any auto maker who wants to use them.

      2. speculawyer says:

        Because Tesla has been the most successful and are the only ones to get so many things right.
        -Great aerodynamics
        -Company supported DC-fast charge network.
        -Great design aesthetics
        -Skateboard design
        -Start at the top of the market and work down

        Sure . . . they have made their fair share of mistakes like the abandoned 2 speed transmission of the Roadster, those Model X Falcon-wing doors, milling-sound problem, etc. But they have gotten so much right that they have earned the right to be at the top. And at the top of the sales charts they are.

        1. DonC says:

          In all fairness, the “great aerodynamics” claim isn’t backed up by the numbers (90 MPGe highway hardly blows one away), the skateboard design has been around for a while, and the design if a rip-off of Aston Martin.

          On the positive side, the charger network has played well. However, what Mush has actually excelled at is hype. Nothing wrong with that, it’s worked to the extent Tesla has been able to raise (and lose) billions. But don’t get all starry eyed about the business success. So far it hasn’t happened.

          1. ddkm says:

            The Model S does have great aerodynamics. Its Cd is 0.24 which is lower than the Volt, Prius, Leaf. In fact it’s one of the top 5 most aerodynamic production cars being made today.

            Mpge rating also relies on other factors like speed, weight, motor/power electronics efficiency, and rolling resistance.

          2. philip d says:

            The S90D actually gets 103 mpge now. So you’re saying that 103 mpge for a full-sized 417 hp luxury car doesn’t blow you away?

            It does in fact have a very low cd but because it’s a large car it has a larger cross-section.

            So you can’t really blame its lower mpge numbers vs. smaller and lighter EVs with much lighter and smaller battery packs on the aerodynamics of the Tesla not being excellent but rather on these other factors like frontal area, cross-section, weight and power output of motors.

          3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            DonC continued his anti-Tesla FUD campaign:

            “In all fairness, the ‘great aerodynamics’ claim isn’t backed up by the numbers (90 MPGe highway hardly blows one away)…”

            It’s amazing how many falsehoods you packed into such few words.

            Aerodynamics, or Cd, is only part of the equation for energy efficiency, which is properly expressed in miles per kWh, and not the nonsensical expression “MPGe”, which insinuates that BEVs should be rated on the same metric as gasmobiles.

            Other parts of the equation are frontal area and mass (weight) of the car.

            Tesla’s superior streamlining is quite apparent in the fact that (when measured on the same EPA driving cycle) the Model S gets almost precisely the same number of miles per kWh as the much lighter, shorter-ranged Nissan Leaf.

            “…the skateboard design has been around for a while…”

            But Tesla is the first to put that design into an actual production car.

            “…and the design if a rip-off of Aston Martin.”

            There hasn’t been a completely original design for a car since even before the first ICE powered car. Who did Aston Martin “rip off”, as you put it, for their designs? Jaguar? VW’s Karmann Ghia? The Aston Martin designs are a variant on previous designs from other auto makers… just like the Model S design.

            “But don’t get all starry eyed about the business success. So far it hasn’t happened.”

            It has been succeeding brilliantly since 2008. Tesla motors has defied the consensus of predictions from industry watchers, not only surviving, but growing rapidly. The Model S has garnered more “best car of the year” awards than any other automobile in history, and in some years has outsold all other luxury sedans in the North American market.

            Most people who aren’t Tesla bashers would call that not merely *a* success, but a string of successes far beyond the wildest dreams of Tesla’s original founders, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning!

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Texas FFE said:

        “Why does everything with you guys have to be about Tesla?”

        Why have you developed such an allergy to positive comments about Tesla Motors?

        Take a look at the name of this website: InsideEVs. What company is doing the most to advance the technology and adoption of EVs? What company isn’t merely the leader of a close race, but rather is the clear leader in the race, with the others far behind?

        Tesla Motors, of course.

        Now either get over it, or find some other forum for your hostility towards the one and only auto maker that has earned our respect and our admiration for its constant efforts to push forward EV tech, and its constant efforts to replace sales of gasmobiles with sales of EVs.

        We’re tired of your constant negative comments in response to anyone making a positive comment about Tesla.

    2. JIMIJON says:

      Apple should stick with what do best!

  2. SJC says:

    Smart move, do what they can do best.

    1. Skryll says:

      lol

      Blackberry was vastly successful, and developing autonomous driving software without cars is a sure winner.

  3. William says:

    The next major car company with “Apple inside” will be? My guess is not Tesla! Any bets on GM and/or Ford getting on board and adopting Apple Autonamouse tech will be risky at best!

    1. Yogurt says:

      GM is already testing their autonomus tech on the streets of Scotsdale so I dont think they are going to put their program on hold and wait 5 years for Apple…
      Ford just anounced a week ago that they will have a fully self driving car on the road in 2021 so I dont think they will want to pay what Apple is sure to charge for their tech…

      http://insideevs.com/autonomous-chevrolet-bolts-now-testing-arizona/

      http://insideevs.com/ford-well-build-high-volume-fully-autonomous-vehicle-2021/

      It is a safe bet that someone will buy their tech but not Ford or GM…
      My first guess would be the company that is behind in almost every category FCA or smaller auto companies that dont have the size and knowledge to do such…

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yes, I think Apple’s first customers for its self-driving car hardware/software package will be smaller auto makers. Whether or not any of the major manufacturers will have “Apple inside”… I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I wouldn’t try to predict either way.

  4. Texas FFE says:

    The self driving iPhone looks pretty silly but companies like bvb-innovative are working on passengerless vehicles. In bvb-innovatives case, they want build self driving batteries that catch up to you and charge your car or truck while you’re driving down the highway. So don’t be surprised if look over to the car next to you on the highway and there’s no one to staring back at you.

  5. speculawyer says:

    Looks like Apple’s car project has failed.

    1. carcus says:

      Looks like the mad scramble for market share in our “autonomous ride sharing future” is just commencing.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Looks to me like what Apple probably intended all along is merely becoming more clear.

      Just because Apple hired auto designers doesn’t necessarily mean they ever intended to actually build an iCar. They’ll need auto designers for designing the cars they will use for self-driving test platforms, just like Google has. Apple will also need such designers for proper integration of the various hardware pieces into cars made by legacy auto makers.

  6. DonC says:

    Smart decision. A ton of value added will be in the autonomy area. Some will be on the production and materials side. And other than the chemistry, which might be huge, only a bit will be on the electrical drive end. I never understood why Apple wanted to get into the lowest value area.

    Adding a player to the move to Level 4 should benefit the pace of innovation.

  7. Priusmaniac says:

    In my opinion that is an error. The real focus should still be the battery, with more energy and much faster recharging times at higher voltage through contacts under the car at MW power. That will all become super obvious as people keep demanding shorter 10 minutes stops for fast charging and still demand more range in the same time. Together with demanding no manual intervention to charge.
    Self driving is a distraction, that has nothing to do with the transition from gas powered vehicles to electric vehicles, that may even end up not being possible.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      On the contrary, Apple is much better positioned to develop systems to add to cars to make them self-driving, regardless of whether those cars are pure gasmobiles, pure BEVs, or something in between.

      In my opinion, Tesla would be better off leaving the development of that to Apple, and concentrate on building great electric cars. Tesla’s reluctance to do what’s really needed in that area is obvious from its reliance on the inferior tech of optical object recognition. Tesla is using cheap video cameras for passive scanning instead of properly using scanning lidar, as Google’s cars do.

      I think Apple will do better.

  8. Clive says:

    There was an article just like this about a month or two back saying the same thing about BMW.

    Just because Apple hires a guy from BlackBerry doesn’t mean a thing there’s nothing to support this article other than pure speculation.

  9. fotomoto says:

    I wonder if (Dr.) Dennis Lyle will nix his applecarforum.net site? Currently it’s overrun with spammers.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      We don’t have any association with the site (other than being a friend of Lyle’s), but I believe that forum was abandoned for a new one when he decided to run an Apple blog (he probably should pull it down all the same though):

      AppleCarFans (daily blog):
      http://applecarfans.com/

      Sub-Forum:
      http://applecarfans.com/forums/forum.php

  10. pjwood1 says:

    I’m still digging out of a Windows 10 “upgrade”, at home. Right now, I don’t want Silicon Valley’s bloat anywhere near my cars. They give us more sub-menus. We experience more wrecks. They claim greater need for “safe” bloat ware. A viscious cycle 😉

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Yeah, what could possibly go wrong with an upgrade? I join you there.
      I still don’t understand the end of session Windows is closing please wait. Imagine you need to wait five minutes to start or to close your car.

      Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be so at Tesla.

  11. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “According to recent reports, Apple will intensify its focus on autonomous driving technology, while at the same time putting development of its secret electric car (‘Project Titan’) on the back burner.”

    This is pretty close to what I’ve been predicting ever since InsideEVs first reported the news that Apple had a “Titan” project to build EVs.

    Building hardware and software systems to put in cars to make them self-driving, is a much better fit for Apple’s business model than building the whole car. That’s not going to change. Apple doesn’t do heavy industry like building automobiles, period.

    Aside to Bill Howland, who recently denigrated my success rate for predictions: In case you didn’t notice, that’s one more rather accurate prediction for Pushmi-Pullyu. 😀