Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially confirmed in a WWDC interview with Bloomberg Television that his company is working on autonomous driving software. He wouldn’t say if there’s an iCar in the works though.
Apple was added to the list of 29 other companies, including Tesla, Google, Ford and Mercedes, that are testing or planning to test self-driving vehicles in the state of California, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles’s (DMV) website Friday.
The permit allows Apple to test vehicles in autonomous mode on public roads.
It’s unclear if Apple sought to obtain a permit because it wanted to test-drive its own autonomous vehicles or if the company was simply looking to experiment with the rumored autonomous driving features in a future CarPlay version.
Earlier this year, Apple poached Alexander Hitzinger, the former technical director of Porsche’s race car program who helped the car maker return to the Le Mans endurance race, a company source told Reuters last Friday. The move was first reported by Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Volkswagen-owned Porsche officially confirmed Hitzinger had left the luxury carmaker in the spring, but didn’t share any further information.
Apple in November penned a letter to the NHTSA (U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) regarding autonomous vehicle polices and other concerns. VentureBeat unearthed the letter, which was signed by Apple VP of Product Integrity and former Ford safety executive Steve Kenner.
Back in September, The Financial Times, The New York Times and Bloomberg ran reports that Apple was considering either a full takeover bid or at least a large investment in the British supercar maker McLaren Automotive. A potential acquisition was valued at between $1.3 billion and $1.9 billion though McLaren later said it was “not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.”
Saturday, McLaren CEO Mike Flewitt confirmed in an interview with Reuters that his company did hold talks with Apple after all, but said the discussions never progressed towards a definitive proposition.
Neil Cybart wrote a detailed analysis of Apple’s seemingly scaled back ambitions for the Apple Car. From building an electric car to now building software for autonomous driving, Cybart looks into why Apple might have changed course.
KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new research note to investors on Wednesday regarding his vision for Apple’s augmented reality efforts. In the letter, the noted analyst says that we likely won’t see these efforts for 1-2 years, but when we do they will redefine Apple’s current products and open up new categories.
Project Titan, Apple’s ambitious initiative to build an electric vehicle by 2020-2021 reportedly fell apart amid management crisis, supply chain issues and departures, prompting the company’s leadership to shift gears and focus on autonomous self-driving software, for now.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Monday that Apple will decide fate of self-driving software by late 2017 as the new direction no longer includes building its own car.
Apple is rethinking what it plans to do about self-driving cars, reports The New York Times. Citing sources familiar with the project, the outlet said on Friday that the company has shuttered parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees. These moves are the latest signs of trouble involving Apple’s oft-rumored initiative, codenamed Project Titan. In July it was reported that the team, under new leader Bob Mansfield, had shifted its focus from building a vehicle to an autonomous driving system.
Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster had been infamously predicting an Apple-branded HDTV set for years before eventually giving up on that dream. Last we heard from him was when he called for an S-upgrade to the Apple Watch in February 2016 (he may have gotten that one right; the timing, not so much).
He’s back now with some interesting thoughts (via AppleWorldToday) on Apple’s rumored electric vehicle and assumed virtual reality headset hardware.