The Apple autonomous car program is dead, at least according to insiders. In a report by Bloomberg agency, Apple Inc. has drastically scaled down its bid for autonomous driving tech and has binned Project Titan, the tech giant's stillborn attempt at manufacturing cars.
Prior to this report, the Apple said that they will be releasing their first autonomous car by 2019 and has pirated several key figures from the automotive industry to develop the vehicle. Apple's ambition to move into automaking saw executives from Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Tesla being pirated by the tech company.
Steve Zadesky, formerly an engineer at Ford Motor Company, as Vice President for Product Design and was said to be heading the project but has reportedly resigned from his post as head of the project. Another former motoring executive with Mercedes-Benz, Johann Jungwirth is also now with Apple along with Ford 021C designer Marc Newson. With the cancellation of the project, the new roles of these executives have yet to be decided.
The last development surrounding Project Titan was a rumored collaboration between Apple and McLaren. The latter refuted the rumor, saying that there are “No discussions” taking place between them and Apple. It was also reported that Apple ran into problems finding a supplier for Project Titan. An insider added that another reason why the program was canceled is because the management “battled about the project's direction”. “It was an incredible failure of leadership,” said another person close to the project.
The 1,000 strong team of Project Titan has also been significantly reduced. Over 120 software, hardware and chassis development engineers were cut from their respective assignments. According to the report, many more have resigned.
Apple's autonomous program is now taking on a new direction say the insiders. The remaining members of the team are said to be working on autonomous programs, vision sensors and simulators to test in the real world. Apple has declined to comment regarding Project Titan's fate.
Note: Pictured above is the Apple iMove concept by Liviu Tudoran