Apple reportedly accelerates 'Project Titan' as fully self-driving car could arrive by 2025
It might not fit in your pocket, but you might consider the Apple Car to be a mobile product. And today, Bloomberg reports that Apple has decided to produce a car that will be able to drive without any help from humans. Apple reportedly had been deciding between producing a car with limited self-driving capabilities similar to models currently available, and an auto that requires no human intervention.
Apple accelerates its timeline, hopes to launch a fully autonomous car by 2025
Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that under team leader and VP of technology Kevin Lynch, Apple is working to take humans out of the equation right off the bat with its first vehicle. And we might see the Apple Car released as soon as 2025. But today's report says that this date can change and Apple also could decide to offer limited autonomy (steering and acceleration) with its first model if need be.
Concept of Apple Car based on patents filed by Apple. Credit-@Vanarama
Many inside the team are not optimistic that the product will be available to consumers as soon as 2025. The timeline is aggressive and Apple still needs to find partners to help it build the vehicle. Still, investors liked the sound of what they were hearing and Apple's shares hit an all-time high today of $158.40, up over 3% on the day.
Apple has called its work on a self-driving car "Project Titan" as it competes with Tesla and others who are racing to complete what is obviously a complex task. Still, the company has shaved some years off of its timeline from the five-to-seven years that Apple engineers had been planning to the four years mentioned in today's report. Apple's car would be expected to go without a steering wheel and a large iPad-like touchscreen would be placed in the middle of the vehicle for the passengers to use.
In case of an emergency, Apple has considered the inclusion of an emergency takeover mode. The company also has finished much of the work required to develop the chip needed to, uh, drive the car. The same team inside Apple that designed the chips used on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac did the work for the car's processors instead of the Project Titan team. This component is the most advanced ever designed by Apple and consists mostly of neural processes needed for the vehicle to self-drive.
Apple aims to include safer safeguards for its self-driving car than the competition
Apple is also looking to include stronger safeguards for its self-driving cars than those available from Tesla and Waymo. This includes layers of backup systems just in case something in the car fails while it is going 65 miles per hour on the highway with your family inside. The tech giant is looking to hire engineers to develop test and safety features related to Project Titan.
A recent job posting for engineers says, "The Special Projects Group is seeking an accomplished mechanical engineer to lead the development of mechanical systems with safety critical functions. You will use your passion for figuring things out to help design safety systems and to lead the testing and countermeasure of those systems." Apple also recently hired Tesla's former self-driving software director CJ Moore.
Another Apple job listing for software engineers mentions that those hired will work on "experiences for human interaction with autonomous technology." The listing also hints that the software being developed will be based on similar technology used on the iPhone's iOS operating software.
Apple also has talked about using the combined charging system (CCS) to power up the vehicle allowing it to be used with a "global network of chargers." This would be a big change from the firm's current use of its proprietary Lightning charging platform used for the iPhone and iPad.
With Apple looking to sell the cars for individual ownership, it will have to develop a global network of dealers, repair centers, and more. Apple might also be counting on more availability of faster 5G signals in order to make sure that there is no lagging with the mapping and navigation systems that will be used for the vehicle.