It seems that Apple may not be as eager to enter the autonomous vehicle arms race after all. The company, which has been rumored to be working on a self-driving car for several years, is moving in a different direction, according to sources.
A report from Bloomberg says Apple has “drastically scaled back its automotive ambitions.” People familiar with the project say hundreds of jobs have been cut as the tech giant switches gears.
Project Titan, as Apple’s highly secret initiative is known, now appears focused on developing a system that allows Apple to work with existing carmakers—or, later down the road, build its own vehicle. However, even this remains up in the air: executives have allegedly given the Titan team until the end of 2017 to prove it is a project worth pursuing in full.
This approach would be similar to how BlackBerry’s QNX’s provides the “infotainment” system for myriad cars but has zero interest in building its own car—while most carmakers, as we all know, are often terrible as developing in-house software systems. A self-driving system would of course be significantly more complicated than a touchscreen interface, but Apple partnering with a major automotive brand does seem more logical than an Apple-branded car.
Indeed, earlier this year Apple hired Dan Dodge, the founder and former CEO of QNX.