Apple Shifts Gears on Electric Vehicle Project Titan

Apple decides to abandon its self-driving electric vehicle dream, known as Project Titan, to instead focus on Gen AI initiatives & other AI technologies

As far back as 2008, top executives at Apple were discussing a self-driving Apple Car, known as Project Titan. Apple's former CEO Steve Jobs was said to have had many discussions about the subject, according to Tony Fadell, the father of the iPod. But this week, the initiative was cancelled. First reported by Bloomberg, several key employees working on the project will allegedly be moved to Apple’s AI division to facilitate better digital growth.

Apple is known for reimagining what’s possible. So naturally, previous plans for Apple's EV involved a car without a steering wheel or pedals. It was also stated that AI would be utilised for consumer convenience, through Apple's assistant Siri. While the self-driving car has been shelved, Apple is moving its sources from Project Titan to focus on AI.

Apple's self-driving EV, Project Titan: 2008 - 2024

Project Titan was developed to capitalise on the growing interest in EV at the time. In fact, it was initially expected that the company would launch its first vehicles as soon as 2024 or 2025, but in January 2024 the launch date was pushed to be no later than 2028.

More recent reports have suggested that the project struggled to get off the ground, with billions of dollars spent on research and development, including changing its software approach and car design. 

Apple was also initially rumoured to be working on a fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals, which would have been radically different to a conventional car. With the iPhone’s original success, it was considered that Apple Car would treat its vehicles much like a digital device.

Global EV demand has been declining in recent months, with customers turning away on account of higher prices and charging challenges. As a result, the market has become incredibly competitive as leading figures like TeslaPolestar and Xpeng seek to expand their customer base.

US-based motor companies such as Ford and General Motors have also recently halted new EV shipments and are planning to pause further production. Additionally, our sister publication EV Magazine reported in 2023 that Tesla is in fact streamlining its EV production to create a more efficient manufacturing process.

Apple to prioritise AI services, over self-driving EV

Given that AI is developing at such a rapid pace, plenty of businesses are scrambling to align their developments with the technology in order to remain competitive in the technology sector. According to Bloomberg’s report, resources from Project Titan will be moved to focus on Gen AI projects at Apple.

It has been widely speculated that Apple has not been quick off the mark when it comes to major AI innovations. In fact, the company was recently overtaken by Microsoft as the most valuable company worldwide, highlighting that the iPhone-maker could be struggling to keep up with AI innovation efforts.

Other competitor companies like OpenAI and Google have been making plenty of AI-related announcements in recent weeks, with Google in particular having rebranded its chatbot model Bard to Gemini. Having debuted its first headset, Apple Vision Pro, earlier this month (February 2024), time will tell if Apple will continue to commit to AI growth in the future.

But Apple is not alone in that. Check out out 'Top 10 firms leveraging autonomous driving capabilities' and read the full article here


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