Apple revises strategy for its self-driving technology

Posted August 24, 2017

In the meantime, the company is focusing on a self-driving campus shuttle, codenamed PAIL - short for "Palo Alto to Infinite Loop".

Apple's Titan vehicle project (though many had dubbed it iCar) has been secretly putting the autonomus technology to the test for some years now, with suggestions late last year that it was being downscaled. Instead of the Apple Car, we're more likely to see an over-glorified Apple Bus.

At one time, Apple apparently was planning on building its own self-driving vehicle. Apple executive Steve Zadesky, who was at first in charge of Titan, was more interested on the semi-autonomous alternative, according to the Times. Every facet of a device or technology spends in years in research and testing before they are merged to form a fully contained and fully owned Apple product. Apple has a permit to test self-driving cars and some Lexuses driven by Apple software were spotted earlier this year. We've known since past year that Apple was waffling on its self-driving auto project - codenamed Project Titan - and shifting its focus away from building a vehicle from the ground up toward building software that could power an autonomous vehicle, a strategy that's also been adopted by Waymo, the new Alphabet company that picked up Google's old self-driving project.

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Apple is a relatively recent entrant to the field.

Such lofty goals in such a nascent area of technology, along with alleged "arbitrary or unrealistic deadlines" and "shifting priorities", ensnared Apple, according to the employees. The shuttle will be used as a form of testing for Apple and will match what other companies, including Waymo and Cruise, have done to test and flawless their technologies. "But we are being straightforward that it's a core technology that we view as very important", Cook said during an interview with Bloomberg at the time. There was fierce debate about whether it should be programmed using Swift, Apple's own programming language, or the industry standard, C++. It is specifically seeking out people with autonomous vehicle software experience.

According to the source that Business Insider spoke with, Apple is creating its autonomous systems with an eye to the ride-sharing and ride-hailing market but that Apple has no plans at this point to go it alone and try to become the next Uber. Apple has grown too big to be operated like a startup, moreover, the company is desperate to create the next big thing, as now, more than 50% of its profit comes from iPhone sales alone, which is in decline.