TECH: That Apple Car of the Future Might Not Happen

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Apple released the latest version of the iPhone this week, and people predictably lined up to get one the second it arrives in stores. That’s how things work with Apple. They release a product. People fall in love with the product. They release an update that makes the old product look ancient and everyone goes out and buys the new one. News of an Apple car had fans drooling, but that car might be dead before it drives a single mile.

Project Titan was rumored to be an electric car that looked something like a minivan. It was supposed to be an autonomous wonder. Auto industry experts like Johann Jungwirth formerly of Mercedes-Benz and ex-Ford engineer Steve Zadesky were a part of the team working on the thing. People were excited.

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Now there’s news that Apple is cutting jobs and closing up shop. This comes only a few months after they assigned Bob Mansfield to the project to get it on track.

Although the possibility of a car with an Apple logo on the hood looks doubtful, that doesn’t mean they’ve entirely abandoned the technology that would have run their cars. Their focus appears to be shifting from building the car to only building the technology

It’s not entirely surprising that they shifted their efforts in this direction. The idea of an autonomous car was once something novel and futuristic and it wasn’t at the top of every automaker’s to-do list. Today there are plans for autonomous vehicles from Ford, General Motors, and FCA. Ford recently stated they’ll have a fleet of autonomous vehicles for ride-sharing on the roads as soon as 2021.

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This might be sad news for all the Apple fanboys out there, but it’s probably a good thing. Building cars is not an easy task and the resources required for Apple to do that would be immense. Ford, on the other hand, is in the business of building cars, which greatly simplifies the process. The tech may be new, but building cars is old hat for Ford.

There’s still the question of exactly what autonomous technologies Apple is brewing. There are still rumors that they have autonomous vehicles in testing, but no one yet knows if it’s the cars that are the potential product or the technologies that make them work. For now, be happy with your new iPhone, because the car is still a giant question mark.

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Nicole Wakelin

Nicole Wakelin