The first product of Apple’s self-driving electric car project codenamed “Titan”, could actually be an electric van instead of a car, the media reported. “According to multiple unnamed sources of German business publication — Manager Magazin, prototypes of Apple’s work have been seen painted in black and silver and the main highlight is that vans are being tested, rather than cars,” Apple Insider reported on Thursday.
In August 2018, Tesla’s former engineering Vice President, Doug Field was appointed by Apple to lead team “Titan”.
“The ‘Apple Car’ which could be arriving between 2023 and 2025, has undergone development at Apple in a variety of different. Originally working on an entire vehicle, the project changed its focus towards self-driving vehicle systems, though there are some signs it is shifting back towards overall vehicular design,” the report said.
The fleet of Apple’s self-driving programmes is made up of 66 Lexus RX450h SUVs, each of which is fitted with huge racks of LIDAR and radar sensors as well as cameras, roaming around the San Francisco Bay Area to perfect the sensors, computer systems and software required for a vehicle to safely drive itself. In January, Apple pushes out over 200 employees from its electric car project to other parts of the company as part of the restructuring process of project “Titan”.
The iPhone-maker is also said to be applying some of the “Titan” technology into a self-driving shuttle program titled “Palo Alto to Infinite Loop” or “PAIL” — intended to ferry Apple employees between the Bay Area campuses, using specially modified Volkswagen vans, the report added. In May 2018, with 55 self-driving cars and 83 drivers, Apple touched the second highest number of self-driving cars in the US state of California after General Motor’s Cruise, which had 104 vehicles.