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Apple shifts focus to driverless car software

Apple is secretly working on a self-driving vehicle. (Photo: Apple)

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Angelo Rychel
Angelo Rychel
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The tech giant’s Project Titan will reportedly no longer prioritize building a fully electric vehicle.

For years there has been much speculation about Apple’s secretive Project Titan. It was repeatedly reported that the company plans to build a fully electric vehicle – the iCar. However, the recent recruitment of a former BlackBerry CEO now suggests that Apple would rather develop a self-driving software system. This would give the tech giant the option to partner with an existing OEM, according to a Bloomberg report.

Sources say that Dan Dodge, former head of BlackBerry’s automotive software division, joined the company earlier this year. Together with Bob Mansfield, Apple’s former chief of hardware, he will head Project Titan. Bloomberg concludes that Apple will now prioritize developing an autonomous driving system. It has not completely abandoned plans to design its own electric vehicle, though. That option is apparently still on the table. Apple has however continued to remain remarkably tight-lipped about the project and not surprisingly declined to comment on the report.

The change of strategy comes after “multiple departures, technical delays and confusion regarding the direction of the project,” sources told Bloomberg. It is said that Apple recently pushed the car’s release date from 2019 to 2021. Several hundred engineers are working to design the car, many of them headhunted by established car makers.

On a related note, ride-hailing firm Uber is partnering with its Chinese rival company Didi. Uber will take a 20 percent stake in the combined company, while Didi will invest $1 billion into Uber. Why a related note? In May, Apple invested USD 1 billion into Didi – seen as a first step into the Chinese automotive market. Uber has repeatedly announced bold plans for autonomous vehicle fleets

Read the full Bloomberg article on Apple’s project.

Read the full Bloomberg article on Uber’s expansion.

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