Apple Inc. – the iPhone making giant – may not become an automaker, but it sure does want to develop its own automated technology for cars. There are reports that Apple’s automotive project focus has now shifted to creating the tech for a self-driving vehicle that does not require a human driver.
Apple really rethinking its automotive strategy?
It must be noted, that this new direction of the project has not foreclosed the probability that the tech giant might make its own car someday, but has cleared the way to partner with other automakers. A person with knowledge of the project confirmed the new emphasis on Friday after the New York Times reported that Apple is “rethinking” its car strategy.
Apple Inc. may have also laid off many employees working on its automated car efforts. As per New York Times, Apple has laid off dozens of employees working on its self-driving car efforts. One of the sources told Times that the Cupertino-based firm is “rethinking the strategy of its so-called Project Titan car initiative” and the employees were told the layoff was just a part of a “reboot.”
Recently, the Bloomberg reported that Apple had moved its focus from designing a full car to building out the technology for an automated car. So, these layoffs could be related to this.
Apple car efforts – are they real?
Apple has always refused to confirm its car ambitions, and made no official comment on this news as well. However, Tesla CEO – Elon Musk – said previously that the tech giant has hired hundreds of engineers, some even from the EV firm, to work on an automotive project. In early 2015, The WSJ first reported that the iPhone maker had several hundred employees working on an electric car. Many unmarked cars laden with sensor equipment and camera have been rumored to be owned by the tech giant as well.
Also, last year, the iPhone maker reportedly contacted the local officials in the San Francisco Bay Area for using a former naval base that has been converted into an automotive testing ground, say local officials. In addition, Bloomberg News and the New York Times have reported that Apple’s initial efforts to make its own vehicle have suffered from technical delays and management turnover. Industry experts believe, building a car is an unbelievably a complex challenge for all companies, even for the like of Apple Inc. , which has all the engineering prowess.
Tech companies want to build their own automobiles because they want people to continue buying and use their services and products, say analysts. Several leading car making firms have opened research labs in Silicon Valley, to work on the physical system, like sensors and other components, and the software needed for automated driving.
Other technology firm like Tesla, Uber and Googl0e, as well as, automakers like General Motors and Ford are working on their own autonomous vehicle efforts as well.