Apple’s mysterious autonomous car plans have become the subject of an in-depth article discussing how the project came to be and what problems it’s kicked up along the way. Most interesting of all, it appears the brand has scaled back its ambitions significantly heading into the future.
Project Titan, Apple’s codename for the endeavor, started out in 2014 with grand plans for building a self-driving car from the ground up. Employees looked into the various aspects of such a vehicle, from a silent motorized door that would open and close by itself to redesigning a car interior with VR and AR displays but without a gas pedal or steering wheel.
Even the wheel was up for a revamp, with a team considering a spherical one shaped like a globe since such a design would allow for better lateral movement. Efforts were also apparently taken to get rid of LIDAR sensors that jut out of the top of autonomous cars since Apple prefers clean looks that don’t involve an awkwardly spinning cone.
Sadly, it seems we won’t be seeing Apple’s vision of a car anytime soon. 5 people familiar with the matter told the New York Times that Project Titan was apparently dogged with a lack of clarity, with some advocating for completely autonomous cars and others advocating for semiautonomous cars.
In the end, Apple decided to kill the car manufacturing side of things and focus entirely on the software side of it instead. That’s given birth to a new operating system called CarOS. It’s currently set to be tested in the form of a self-driving shuttle service that carries employees from one Apple building to another using a commercial vehicle.
This shuttle program is supposedly called PAIL or Palo Alto to Infinite Loop. Perhaps it could offer a glimpse at a future where Apple manages to build the self-driving car it always wanted from the start. After all, the company is notorious for keeping things in the family and wouldn’t want to rely on third-party car makers forever.