California-based tech giant Apple is pulling back on its plans to launch a fully autonomous vehicle, and will instead seek to launch a more traditional all-electric car with some semi-autonomous capabilities around the 2026 calendar year.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, which cites anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the iPhone maker scaled back on its vision of producing a fully autonomous vehicle in the face of technology constraints and massive investments into research and development. It’s estimated that Apple is spending upwards of $1 billion per year on its car project.
Dubbed internally as project “Titan,” the Apple car project has been in the works for roughly a decade now. Although the tech giant has opted to keep a lid on the project, it’s estimated that roughly 1,000 employees are currently assigned to Titan, with employees split across campuses in California, Arizona, Ottawa, and Zurich.
The Titan team includes a number of individuals from prominent automakers, including Tesla, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Ford. Vehicle testing is reportedly ongoing at a former Chrysler track near Phoenix codenamed “Sahara,” while the various driving systems are now running on Lexus SUV test vehicles (codenamed “Baja” vehicles) in a number of U.S. states. Looking forward, Apple is expected to consolidate its car teams at a new campus near the San Jose airport in California.
Although Apple originally sought to create a fully autonomous, all-electric vehicle capable of transporting passengers without a driver, the company will now seek to create a more traditional all-electric vehicle with a driver’s seat, steering wheel, and pedals. The new proposed vehicle will still support some semi-autonomous capabilities, but these will likely be relegated to highway driving, similar to the GM Super Cruise system.
Meanwhile, GM’s autonomous vehicle division, Cruise, recently announced that it is seeking to test the fully autonomous Cruise Origin robotaxi on the streets of San Francisco. Cruise is currently testing its autonomous tech via a fleet of upgraded Chevy Bolt EVs, which, unlike the Cruise Origin, are equipped with a steering wheel and a pedal. Cruise began offering fully autonomous rides in its fleet of Bolts this past June.