Apple Co-Founder Claims Self-driving Isn't Realistic, Sick of Lies
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.
AV and EV Collide, Revealing Apple's Self-driving Car Program in Action
Accident reports sometimes reveal more than just who was at fault. A rear-end collision in Sunnyvale, California, last week was truly a product of our modern age — an electric car slamming into the back of what would have been a human-operated crossover, were it not owned by Apple.
While the iPhone maker abandoned its Project Titan self-driving car project in 2016, it didn’t leave the autonomous vehicle field altogether. The August 24th collision shows it.
Apple, Google, and Autonomous Driving: Way Mo' to This Than Meets the Eye?
Earlier this month, Apple and Google both announced plans to kill off their self-driving car projects in favor of focusing on developing the underlying technology. We reported it here. But it’s a little weird that one announcement came so close on the heels of the other. Apple’s Project Titan, formerly a self-driving car project, will presumably continue to compete with Google’s Waymo, which is a subsidiary for Google’s efforts thus far in the field. It’s a race, even if neither company has acknowledged it as such.
Last we knew, Project Titan was testing self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs around Silicon Valley, which were first spotted in late April. Waymo was arguably more successful, since they’d actually succeeded in building a fleet of the Firefly self-driving car pod.
Apple and Google are both being vague about this change in plans, as usual, but we already know a fair amount about how these companies interact with auto manufacturers. We just need to look at Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Some automakers eschew these systems entirely, in favor of their own native smartphone integration and infotainment interfaces. A handful of manufacturers have chosen to support just one or the other.
Many car brands, though, have decided to offer both interfaces to appeal to the most broad range of customers. In this way, Apple and Google both exert considerable influence on automakers based simply on the fact that they sell smartphones.
If Project Titan and Waymo both succeed at becoming functional and user-friendly self-driving car systems, car buyers can expect something similar.
Apple CEO Dubs Self-driving Car Program 'the Mother of All A.I. Projects'
Apple has been perpetually flip-flopping in terms of developing autonomous vehicles. In 2014, the company was rumored to have begun work on an autonomous electric car, codenamed “Project Titan,” with hundreds of employees devoted solely to its development.
Management issues and logistical problems impaired its progress, leading Apple to abandon the project. Since then, Bob Mansfield has fronted a renewed effort to focus on building an autonomous driving system rather than a complete car. At least, that was everyone’s best guess, as the company has been semi-secretive about its mission since day one.
That changed on Tuesday, when CEO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple does indeed have a self-driving development program. The chief executive even went so far as to call it “the mother of all A.I. projects.” That’s quite the claim to make, considering making the tech work on a car is half the battle and Apple has no practical experience building an autonomous vehicle.
Jaguar and Shell Partner for World's First In-Car Fuel Purchase System
New advancements at Jaguar keep on coming. In addition to the new Ingenium engine we reported on earlier today, Jaguar has also announced an in-car payment system for use exclusively at Shell stations.
Gassing up will soon be such a breeze for Jag owners, they’ll want to do it all the time. Shell no doubt encourages this behavior.
Apple Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Demanding It Block Users From Texting and Driving
Apple is facing a legal battle in California for neglecting to implement technology that would prevent iPhone owners from texting behind the wheel.
Filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the class-action suit alleges that Apple has possessed the ability to disable texting since 2008, and was granted a patent on it by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014. The lawsuit wants the company to stop all iPhone sales until it installs safety-oriented software on all devices — new and old — via an update.
SmartDeviceLink Introduces 'Target-Rich Environment' for Car Hackers
Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Subaru, PSA (Peugeot, etc.), and Suzuki are now part of an automotive alliance concerning your dashboard. The SmartDeviceLink Consortium, as they’re styling it, is apparently all about muscling around Google and Apple’s forays into the automobile, and is based on Ford’s existing “AppLink” software project, which has been around for several years.
I’ve written about smart dashboards before for TTAC. Particularly, in 2013 after Apple’s original announcement, I was amazed automakers were willing to cede so much control over the precious dashboard real estate. I later noted people are likely to be more loyal to their phones than cars and to make buying decisions around what cars support their phones “properly,” especially because Apple and Google fundamentally know a lot more about you and can do a much better job of knowing what you want to listen to and where you want to go.
But what exactly is the SmartDeviceLink Consortium all about? You might think it sounds like it’s a rejection of your smartphone driving the screen in your car, as with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Curious as to what was really going on, I then dug into the giant pile of software and specifications they’ve posted on Github. What’s really going on here isn’t as much in opposition to what Google and Apple are up to as it’s an attempt to standardize it and refactor it.
Silicon Valley Discovers 'Making a Car is Hard'
Every now and then, a critical mass of clever, ambitious folks excited about a particularly good idea coalesces, often in a particular geographic region, and humanity gets lucky. The American colonies in the late 18th century and Detroit in the early 20th century are historical examples. Silicon Valley, starting in the 1980s, is probably our best contemporary example.
In recent years, those modern titans of technology have turned their futurist eyes towards personal transportation. Whether explicitly or in sotto voce tones, they’ve indicated that the traditional auto industry personified as “Detroit” was a dinosaur about to go extinct. Not knowing the auto industry metaphor of becoming an obsolete buggy whip manufacturer, the tech industry saw Detroit’s future as “making handsets” — i.e. low tech assemblers.
Tesla was going to show us the new electron driven future, Google was going to make cars that drove themselves, and the Apple of the tech world’s eye was going to do nothing less than completely reinvent the automobile, just as it had done with music players and telephones. The push towards self-driving, autonomous cars and trucks was only going to accelerate the ascendancy of Silicon Valley as the new Motor City.
Just because you’re good at one thing, however, doesn’t mean you’re good at another.
No Car Will Be the New Apple Car
After numerous rumored postponements to the vehicle’s intended release, repeated strategy disagreements, large-scale layoffs, and the loss of key team members assigned to the self-driving vehicle project, it appears that Apple is scrapping the idea of building a car entirely.
According to Bloomberg, hundreds of members of Apple’s Project Titan have been laid off, reassigned to other projects, or have outright quit over the last few months. As a result, the initiative has been embarrassingly “refocused” once again.
McLaren Refutes Reports of Apple Talks, Possible Takeover
Fight Back Against Bad Emojis With This Porsche Automoji Sticker Pack for IOS 10
We all use our phones, and we all receive errant, unwanted eggplant emojis.
It’s time to fight back against this petrolless future with this Porsche-themed iMessage sticker pack for iOS 10 users.
ICar or NoCar? Apple Car Project Hit With Layoffs, Future Uncertain
Apple’s self-driving car project seems to have reached the point in a TV show where new actors take on old roles and the script flies out the window.
According to the New York Times, the tech giant’s Project Titan has been hit with a slew of layoffs, leaving several areas of the project boarded up and in the dark.
Is the shadowy Apple car, once the dream of nerds everywhere, powering down?
Seat Breaks Down Apple's Walls, Offers CarPlay-Compatible Vehicle App
Apple loves it when people buy its toys, but doesn’t appreciate it when other companies try to muscle into its technology playpen.
Whether the tech giant likes it or not, the Volkswagen-owned Seat brand just became the first automaker to design and market an app that is compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Apple Hires Blackberry Exec for Car Project; Project Team Heads in New Direction
Apple’s annoyingly mysterious self-driving [s]unicorn[/s] car project has a new team member.
Dan Dodge, founder and former CEO of Blackberry’s QNX automotive software division, has already joined the ranks of Apple’s shadowy “Project Titan” team, Bloomberg reports. After endless speculation about the future iCar (and what it will look like), sources close to the company say the project is now moving in different direction.
Is the Apple car fading from view?
Slices of Apple
In social situations, general convention holds that, unless you want to incite a riot, certain topics remain off-limits: politics, religion, and — increasingly — one’s choice of technology. Vocal cords have been inflamed and dinners have been ripped asunder with invectives hurled at Android or epithets tossed towards Apple.
Bob Lutz is on record opining that Apple’s efforts in developing a car are “going to be a gigantic money pit” — and he’s probably right.
Here’s the thing though: Apple has a history of figuring out how to make big profits with products traditionally considered to be low margin. Add this to the fact that Apple is rich enough to spend huge bucks on developing a car, only to drop it all and walk away if they’re unhappy with the project.
Think they won’t?