“As new employees were brought into Apple’s secret effort to create a self-driving car a few years ago, managers told them that they were working on the company’s next big thing: A product that would take on Detroit and disrupt the automobile industry,” Daisuke Wakabayashi reports for The New York Times. “These days, Apple’s automotive ambitions are more modest. The company has put off any notion of an Apple-branded autonomous vehicle and is instead working on the underlying technology that allows a car to drive itself.”

“A notable symbol of that retrenchment is a self-driving shuttle service that ferries employees from one Apple building to another,” Wakabayashi reports. “The shuttle, which has never been reported before, will likely be a commercial vehicle from an automaker and Apple will use it to test the autonomous driving technology that it develops.”

“Five people familiar with Apple’s car project, code-named ‘Titan,’ discussed with The New York Times the missteps that led the tech giant to move — at least for now — from creating a self-driving Apple car to creating technology for a car that someone else builds,” Wakabayashi reports. “The project’s reduced scale aligns Apple more closely with other tech companies that are working on autonomous driving technology but are steering clear of building cars… Apple’s testing vehicles will carry employees between its various Silicon Valley offices. The new effort is called PAIL, short for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop, the address of the company’s main office in Cupertino, Calif., and a few miles down the road from Palo Alto, Calif.”

“From the beginning, the employees dedicated to Project Titan looked at a wide range of details. That included motorized doors that opened and closed silently. They also studied ways to redesign a car interior without a steering wheel or gas pedals, and they worked on adding virtual or augmented reality into interior displays,” Wakabayashi reports. “Apple even looked into reinventing the wheel. A team within Titan investigated the possibility of using spherical wheels — round like a globe — instead of the traditional, round ones, because spherical wheels could allow the car better lateral movement. But the car project ran into trouble…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, Apple’s going to make a vehicle operating system and license it out to other companies because that’s what they do…. Oh, wait.

According to Wakabayashi’s report, “Steve Zadesky, an Apple executive who was initially in charge of Titan, wanted to pursue the semiautonomous option. But people within the industrial design team including Jonathan Ive, Apple’s chief designer, believed that a fully driverless car would allow the company to reimagine the automobile experience, according to the five people. Last year, Apple started to rein in the project. The company tapped Bob Mansfield, a longtime executive who over the years had led hardware engineering for some of Apple’s most successful products, to oversee Titan. Mr. Mansfield shelved plans to build a car and focused the project on the underlying self-driving technology.

We wonder, especially after looking at/ trying to use abominations like the Apple TV’s Siri Remote (that could’ve been designed by a random guy plucked off the street), is Jony more disappointed or pissed that he’s not going to get to build a car?

Or could this simply be that Apple wants to get the hard stuff (autonomous vehicle OS) done first and will wait do the easier stuff (vehicle hardware) later (based on when and if they succeed with the software)?

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ remains as fuzzy as ever – June 14, 2017
Tim Cook says Apple is focusing on an autonomous car system; does not rule out making own vehicles – June 13, 201
How Apple is training testers for self-driving Apple Car – April 24, 2017
Apple permit reveals self-driving car testers include NASA roboticists – April 24, 2017
Apple + satellites = ? – April 22. 2017
Why Apple may be interested in space satellites – April 21, 2017
Apple’s self-driving car test program revealed in new document – April 21, 2017
Analyst: Apple ‘almost certainly’ exploring making a whole car but there’s a big challenge – April 18, 2017
Right now, the ‘Apple Car’ is a 2015 Lexus RX 450h SUV – April 17, 2017
Gene Munster on Apple Car: Exploration does not mean a product comes to market – April 17, 2017
Apple’s Project Titan: California makes it official – April 17, 2017
Why you should get your self-driving car from Apple – April 17, 2017
Apple secures permit to test autonomous vehicles – April 15, 2017
Apple’s letter to the U.S. NHTSA reveals 30-year Detroit veteran on its stealth ‘Project Titan’ team – December 8, 2016
Apple files patent for autonomous vehicle collision avoidance system – December 8, 2016
Apple letter all but confirms plans for self-driving cars and commitment to privacy – December 5, 2016
Apple drops hints about autonomous-vehicle project in letter to U.S. transportation regulators – December 3, 2016
It’s not McLaren Racing, but McLaren Applied Technologies, that’s the apple of Apple’s eye – September 23, 2016
Apple-target McLaren is a tech company disguised as a carmaker – September 22, 2016
Supercar-maker McLaren says not in discussion with Apple ‘in respect of any potential investment’ – September 22, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire British supercar maker McLaren – September 21, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire electric vehicle-maker Lit Motors – September 21, 2016