Autonomous Driving

Apple needs revolutionary LiDAR sensors for self-driving cars

Apple has held preliminary discussions with four unnamed suppliers of LiDAR sensors for self-driving vehicles. That might indicate that the Cupertino giant has rebooted its self-driving hardware, code-named Project Titan, although the sensors could also be for the vehicles used in the company's in-house shuttle service for employees.

Apple dismisses 200+ employees from its stealthy autonomous vehicle initiative

Apple this week reportedly laid off more than two-hundred employees from its stealthy autonomous vehicle group, dubbed Project Titan.

Other employees who were impacted by the project's restructuring are staying at Apple, but moving to different parts of the company.

According to people familiar with Apple's motives who spoke with CNBC, the layoffs were internally billed "as a kind of restructuring under the relatively new leadership."

A spokesperson for the California firm was quoted as saying:

We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple.

We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever.

"The most ambitious machine learning project ever" could not be a more apt description of any autonomous driving project, really.

Apple last August hired Doug Field, Tesla's engineering vice president, to lead the Project Titan team alongside Apple's former un-retired hardware chief Bob Mansfield.

Although investors have burned billions of dollars on autonomous driving startups and companies like Tesla, Uber, Waymo and Cruise, the technology just isn't there yet.

In 2016, Project Titan shifted focus from electric cars to autonomous driving systems, but fruits of those efforts have yet to materialize as details of what Apple's up to are hazy.

What do you think about Project Titan?

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Apple-backed Didi Chuxing opens self-driving lab near Cupertino

Didi Chuxing, the leading ride-hailing company in China, has opened an artificial intelligence lab near Apple's Cupertino headquarters, reports Recode. The lab is located in Mountain View, CA and it will focus on "intelligent driving systems."

Apple last May invested $1 billion in Didi, which earned it a seat on the company's board, and given that it's rumored to be working on its own self-driving system, the location of the new R&D lab—6 miles from Cupertino—is interesting.