Apple was once touted to be experimenting with building an electric car with the sole focus on it being self-driving or autonomous. Rumours about Project Titan floated around and since then, Apple has shuttered those ambitions and instead focused on the technology aspects of self-driving cars instead.
According to a report by the New York Times, Apple is looking to working with Volkswagen to fit their T6 Transporter vans and make them into self-driving shuttle vehicles to ferry Apple employees between Palo Alto to Infinite Loop locations (also known as PAIL – Palo Alto to Infinite Loop). Apple at this time has already vehicles that are being tested, such as the Lexus RX450h. It is known that Apple purchased those vehicles and are not in any partnership with Lexus.
Apple’s ambitions for autonomous vehicles were lofty to start but in recent times, the tech giant whose market cap would almost reach USD$1 trillion is now seen as a jaded old record. Negotiations with luxury German marques such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have also broken down due to the issue of who holds the design and data.
Companies such as Waymo and even Uber are leading the space for self-driving cars and many more startups like NuTonomy, Drive.AI and many more are already in late-stage partnerships with tech companies and automotive companies (GM and the likes). The New York Times also reported that Apple’s entire team of self-driving vehicle engineers are completely focused on getting the shuttle service going and have no concrete plans for what comes after this.
Recent setbacks have given the public something to concern about especially with the death of a pedestrian who was struck by an Uber self-driving car recently and accidents caused by Tesla’s autopilot. Experts and people in the industry feel that although the technology is progressing, people, on the other hand, may require some convincing.