Apple scales back self-driving car, delays launch to 2026

According to sources close to the company, Apple has pushed back its plans for an ambitious self-driving car. The target launch date is now 2026, which is about a year later than initially planned.

The car project, referred to as Titan inside the company, has been in a state of stall for the past few months as Apple executives came to terms with the fact that its vision for a fully autonomous vehicle — one without a steering wheel or any pedals — isn’t possible with technology as it stands.

In a recent change of plans for the project, the company is now focusing on a less complicated design that will come with a steering wheel and pedals. This new design will only be capable of supporting fully autonomous driving capabilities on highways, said sources who asked not to be named because this information is private.

Apple’s recent changes display the company’s struggle as it enters a new product category and encounters technological difficulties that have given other large companies trouble. The secretive project, which has been in development for years, has the potential to provide Apple with lots of revenue; however, it could also show how far the iPhone maker’s abilities stretch.

Apple is planning to develop a self-driving car that will allow drivers to do other tasks, like watching a movie or playing a game, while on the freeway. The driver would be alerted with enough time to switch over to manual control if they reach city streets or encounter bad weather conditions.

The company has stated that it will be launching the feature soon, first in North America and then globally.

Apple stocks took a nose-dive today after Bloomberg News reported on some impending changes, losing 2% in value and 19% this year. Although not great news, it’s worth noting that they’re still outperforming most other stocks in the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index.

Apple’s original goal for the car was to provide “Level 5” autonomy, which is the highest level of self-driving technology. To date, no automaker has been able to achieve this. The current plans falls short of that because it is more limited in scope.

The new strategy shift is the latest change for the Apple car team, which hasn’t had any executives stay with them since it started a decade ago. Current leader Kevin Lynch has tried to bring more stability and practical goals to the forefront after years of changes in priority and even layoffs.

At the end of 2021, Lynch took over and immediately started car manufacturing. He instructed his team to focus on making a fully autonomous vehicle that would be completed by 2025. Now, he’s focusing on more achievable expectations with the goal of releasing a product that people will want to buy.

At the core of Apple’s technology is a robust onboard computer system- nicknamed Denali after North America’s tallest mountain peak- and a bespoke selection of sensors.

The processor’s performance is on par with four of Apple’s most powerful Mac chips put together. It was developed by the company’s silicon engineering group and is advanced enough to be considered production-ready. However, prior to the car launch, Apple may choose to downsize it in an effort to reduce costs.

Other car companies, like Tesla Inc., have automated systems to handle various driving tasks. However, Apple plans to use a unique combination of lidar and radar sensors in addition to cameras.

Apple is currently investing about $1 billion annually on its car project, with a large portion of that going towards Amazon Web Services for hosting costs. Last year alone, Apple spent around $125 million on AWS – meaning the bill for this service makes up only a small fraction of their total annual spending.

Apple is considering building a remote command center to help drivers during emergencies and also offering an insurance program.

According to people close to the matter, Apple had initially hoped to sell each car for over $120,000. However, they are now looking to price the vehicle at less than $100,000. This would put it in competition with entry-level models such as the Tesla Model S and Mercedes EQS.

It’s clear that Apple is setting out to make a real foray into the car industry. But it might be a few more years before we know if their efforts will pay off. As of now, the company is looking to launch its first self-driving vehicle in 2026.

If successful, the world could be a very different place. Until then, we’ll have to wait and see.

The only thing we know for certain is that Apple isn’t going to give up on its car ambitions anytime soon. With such a large investment and such a long wait, the company is committed to making sure its project succeeds.

We can only hope that all of the hard work pays off. Only time will tell if Apple’s car project will be a success in the long term.

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