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Apple Made 'Missteps' With Driverless Cars, Might Ditch The Plan All Together

24 August 2017

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

The project's reduced scale aligns more closely with other tech companies that are working on autonomous driving but are steering clear of building cars. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed in June that Apple is developing autonomous-driving systems, but not an actual auto.

Apple has dumped the idea of an Apple-branded self-driving auto - because senior figures couldn't agree on what they wanted it to be.

Under the leadership of veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield and with the vision of Apple's chief design officer Jony Ive, the iCar sounds like it was going to be awesome.

According to the New York Times, the company was forced to curb its ambitions once realizing that the massive scale of the project can not plausibly be continued without some cutbacks. 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. This is evidently what will be powering the shuttle, and Apple presumably hopes the software will also find its way into cars designed and built by automotive companies like, well, Mercedes.

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Due to the NYT report, those comments are now even more telling, as Apple's ostensible plans of creating its own marketable autonomous cars were likely dwindling for some time. While the bus isn't yet running, it's hard to imagine Apple employees needing a lift and chirping, "Let's go hop in the PAIL!"

While Apple tried to figure out the basics, like how self-driving technology would work, another team had already begun working on an operating system software called CarOS. Employees also reportedly complained of shifting priorities and unrealistic deadlines.

In June, Cook spoke about Apple's self-driving plans for the first time.

The disputes didn't stop there, according to the five unnamed Apple insiders, the next one was over whether self-driving software should be programmed in Apple's own programming language Swift, or the industry standard, C++. "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.

Even though had not ironed out numerous basics, like how the autonomous systems would work, a team had already started working on an operating system software called CarOS. The company hired three former NASA engineers for Project Titan in April, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Apple Made 'Missteps' With Driverless Cars, Might Ditch The Plan All Together