A new report from Bloomberg claims that Apple has once again shifted its ambitions around producing its own vehicle. According to the report, the car’s target launch date has been pushed back about a year, to 2026, and it won’t have its most lauded feature.
The vision for the entire project appears to have shifted. Dubbed Project Titan within the company, the Apple car was said to be a fully autonomous vehicle, without even a steering wheel or pedals. This new report claims that Apple has decided it simply isn’t possible to achieve this with current technology, and instead intends to produce a vehicle with full driving controls and is only fully autonomous on highways. According to the report, the current plans are to let drivers do things like watch a movie or play a game on a freeway and to be alerted with plenty of time to switch over to manual control when needed.
While Apple has never formally acknowledged that it is even working on a car, it is one of the tech industry’s worst-kept secrets. The project is big enough to require significant hiring and has been going on for so long that it has already seen a lot of turnover.
The car is said to use a new custom processing unit developed by Apple’s silicon team that is several times more powerful than its high-end Mac chips along with an array of custom sensors. Bloomberg’s report claims that the car will cost less than $100,000, down from the original price point of $120,000, but still firmly in high-end luxury car territory. Apple is reportedly investing $1 billion a year in the project, though those costs will likely increase–it is in a “pre-prototype” stage with lots of design elements and features yet to be decided. The report claims Apple intends to have those in place by 2024 with extensive testing through 2025.
Then again, we’ve heard projected dates on the Apple car for years now, and every year they seem to move back another year. If you’re hoping your next car will be made by Apple, you might be waiting a long time.