Apple's Self-Driving Vehicle Project: An Autonomous Campus Shuttle

Image'The Busy World of Richard Scarry

Image'The Busy World of Richard Scarry

According to a report by The Verge, Apple is working to develop a "self-driving shuttle" that will be used internally to ferry its employees from Palo Alto to Infinite Loop. Following a debate on whether the company should produce a fully or partially autonomous vehicle, Titan was eventually reined in, with emphasis put on software and systems, while staff was reduced. Apple will no longer work on building a fully contained self-driving vehicle, but will instead work on the underlying technology. It's a futuristic bus that drives itself!

Apple, known for being a leader in the mobile phone market, has ambitions that were once a secret effort to bring self-driving cars to the masses.

However, Apple made it particularly hard on itself by setting much-too-aggressive goals, according to new information from the NYT.

The switch in focus marks the end of years of research inside Apple. The company also put its attention on reimagining the wheel, considering the possibility of using spherical wheels -round like a globe- instead of the traditional, round ones, noting that spherical wheels could allow the vehicle better lateral movement.

Apple is planning a self-driving shuttle-service that will carry employees between the company's various Silicon Valley offices, the New York Times reported, citing a number of people familiar with Apple's auto project, code-named "Titan". It was also stated that Apple will "change the landscape" and that Tesla employees are "jumping ship" to join them. The company tapped Bob Mansfield, a longtime executive who over the years had led hardware engineering for some of Apple's most successful products, to oversee Titan. However, there were disagreements on whether CarOS should be programmed using Apple's programming language Swift or with C++. "But we are being straightforward that it's a core technology that we view as very important", Cook said during an interview with Bloomberg at the time.

According to the source that Business Insider spoke with, Apple is creating its autonomous systems with an eye to the ride-sharing and ride-hailing market but that Apple has no plans at this point to go it alone and try to become the next Uber. Apple's recruitment of Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX, Blackberry's (formerly RIM) automotive software division marks a shift in emphasis toward creating software for autonomous vehicles. The company hired three former NASA engineers for Project Titan in April, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Latest News