Apple has never outright said it is working on an autonomous vehicle project, but that hasn’t stopped reported secrets leaking about what the company has planned. The latest “news”? Titan — that’s the code name for Apple’s self-driving car project — is undergoing a “reboot”, closing parts of the program working on a vehicle to instead focus on software.
According to The New York Times, dozens of employees have been laid off in the recent changes, occurring just two months after Bob Mansfield was reportedly brought on to oversee the project. Mansfield was responsible for the hardware engineering development for a number of the company’s high-profile products, including the MacBook Air and the iMac, but left the company’s executive team in 2013. He later came back to work on “special projects under CEO Tim Cook”.
Under Mansfield’s direction, and with the addition of entertainment, navigation and connected device systems company QNX co-founder Dan Dodge to the team, the development of an autonomous driving system (over designing its own vehicle) has reportedly now become the priority.
That of course doesn’t mean Apple won’t be building it’s fabled iCar, but the focus change towards software puts the company in a good position to diversify it’s offering and have a place in the cars of what would have been its competitors.
Very interesting indeed.