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The Apple Car is officially dead

Adding fuel:
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Project Titan, the annoyingly secretive Apple initiative to develop an Apple Car, has finally been confirmed as canned.

Over a decade after it was first announced, according to Bloomberg the Apple Car project is no more. All of the 2000 workers toiling away on the project (yes, 2000) were told of its canning on Tuesday and many are being shifted over to work on genAI projects as Apple readies its next operating systems.

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, reckons the company will “break new ground” on genAI this year. And certainly it would be nice if Apple could bring something to market that didn’t feel as, well, exploitative as much genAI currently does. But that, and all the hype that will surround it, is for the future and now we need to take a moment to lament the passing of Project Titan and Cupertino’s ambitions to build an Apple Car.

It has been a secretive project from the start. As far as we can work out, an official image never appeared, details were never leaked, and specs were never disclosed. Given the number of people that worked on it, that’s an impressive degree of control on behalf of the company.

Maybe now we will start to see some stuff leak out. If so though it will only ever be of historical interest as it’s doubtful anyone in 2024 and the foreseeable future would want to start high-end electric autonomous car development in the current climate.

Not the climate climate, you understand, which could probably do with the needle to shift on EVs much quicker than it is, but the EV and autonomous car market itself which is well and truly in the doldrums.

Simply put, it’s all proved a lot harder than people expected (or investors were led to believe). The charging network to support an increasing number of electric cars on the roads has failed to materialise, there are questions over the resources required to make all those batteries, economies of scale have failed to deliver notably lower costs, Elon Musk has happened, and regulators have looked at driverless technologies and been extremely cautious, mirroring understandable public anxiety on the subject.

That's not to say Apple didn’t try. Only last year it upped its autonomous miles logged in California — ground zero for the autonomous car movement — by over 250% and logged over 450,000 miles. Here’s even some video from the Washington Post of one of its fleet of 67 vehicles negotiating a junction in Cupertino itself.

That was shot on February 6. Despite a reported pivot to assisted driving systems rather than autonomous ones and a launch date pushed back to 2028, Apple Car didn’t make it to the end of the month. All we have now is CarPlay, and the hope that at least some of the reallocated 2000 people are now working on that to make it a bit more fully featured and a bit less flaky.

Tags: Technology Apple