Apple had been working on its plans to build an autonomous vehicle by itself, however, as per a report by The New York Times, Apple has shifted its focus more towards building the software and the underlying technology for the vehicle. It is rumored that Apple is now working on a self-driving shuttle that will ferry employees between the current Apple’s campus and the new one.
Apple’s shuttle project is reportedly called PAIL, standing for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop. The shuttle project is expected to be built atop another manufacturer’s vehicle instead of Apple’s own automobile. The project is said to be ongoing and is expected to be operational soon. As per the report, Apple might test these self-driving shuttles as it already has a permit to test self-driving cars in the area.
Apple is not the only one who gave up on making the entire autonomous vehicle. Waymo, previously called Google Autonomous car project, is also working on its own software for autonomous vehicles instead of building an entire vehicle itself.
This is, however, a departure from Apple’s previous project Titan, which was the codename dubbed for Apple’s autonomous vehicle project. Project Titan was rumored to sport interesting designs such as spherical wheels instead of regular tires for lateral movement of the vehicle. The NY Times also reports that the Titan project commenced back in 2014 with many Apple veterans onboard. The project hired expert car engineers to build the car and also took charge on the software front. This was the typical Apple approach, having control over every aspect of its projects, be it software or hardware.
The project reportedly started hitting snags as the team members were burdened by the size and unrealistic deadlines of the project. One of the teams had already started working on an operating system software called CarOS. There was an internal debate regarding which programming language to be used. While many companies are working on auto-driving technology and realise it as a big part of the future, no one has been able to cash-in on it yet.