Apple Co-Founder Claims Self-driving Isn't Realistic, Sick of Lies

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak may no longer work for the company in any official capacity, but he has stayed on as a tech advisor and sounding board. When the Woz says something it usually isn’t without merit, which is why it was interesting to learn he thinks self-driving vehicles aren’t going to happen.

Previously, Apple was said to have hundreds of employees working on an electrified, autonomous vehicle as part of Project Titan. Despite having the necessary testing permits, the company shifted toward developing software for self-driving applications in 2016. CEO Tim Cook confirmed that was the firm’s new focus in 2017 but analysts and industry insiders have continued to claim the Apple Car is still quietly in development. Maybe someone should tell that to Wozniak because he seems to think the entire idea is bogus.

Confessing that he purchased a Tesla because he initially believed in its autonomous vision, Wozniak told CNBC he gradually became disenfranchised with the idea.

“I wanted to be part of this lead in to autonomous driving,” he explained on Fast Money Halftime Report last week. “I wanted to be a part of that crowd and I kept upgrading my Tesla to one that would have a camera and radar. And then one that would have eight cameras and a radar, because the first one would never do it. And then I gave up and I said it’s really not going to happen.”

While Wozniak praised Tesla’s ability to produce effective electric vehicles and complement its vehicles having the foresight to establish a charging infrastructure beyond city centers, he said he was fed up with the industry lying about autonomous vehicles.

However, he did claim to support advancements in “assistive driving” technology that can allow cars to “spot red lights, and stop signs and avoid some of the accidents today.”

This came with the same warning we like to issue, though. Wozniak said motorists shouldn’t presume driving aids are bulletproof and urged individuals “not to lose sight of the fact you’re not going to get a car that drives itself.”

It may only be one man’s hot take on the issue but Steve is a tech icon and likely someone others will listen to, despite his not being an expert on autonomous systems. It’s also further evidence that many are becoming disillusioned with the concept of self-driving and all of the lofty promises being made by automakers and technology firms. Although, the brunt of Wozniak’s ire seemed to be targeted at Tesla’s AV program.

“Tesla makes so many mistakes,” he said. “It really convinces me that auto piloting and auto steering car driving itself is not going to happen.”

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
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