Apple still plans to put a car on the road, but the release date for the Apple car is sometime in 2028, according to a new report.
Designers had to slam the brakes on hopes for full self-driving capabilities. The electric vehicle allegedly will offer some driver-assistance capabilities but these will fall far short of full autonomy. Still, with the downgraded feature set, the product has a better chance of hitting its deadline than before.
Dreams of self-driving Apple car get stalled by the roadside
Numerous leaks indicate that Apple’s Project Titan to develop a self-driving vehicle has been going since 2014 — about 10 years now. But it hasn’t been a smooth trip, and the Apple car’s debut remains far away. Over the years, there have been many management changes and at least one round of layoffs.
At one point, the goal was a completely autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel or brake pedal. But no company has been able to introduce a vehicle with what’s called Level 5 autonomy.
Apple has given up trying — at least for the initial version. “The car will use what is known as a Level 2+ system,” reports Bloomberg on Tuesday. That means the vehicle is intelligent enough to keep in a lane and adapt its speed to other cars, but that’s it. It’s helping the driver, not replacing them.
If that sounds familiar, it’s essentially what a Tesla offers now. And that’s supposedly not a coincidence.
“The latest plan for the car is seen internally as a Tesla ‘me-too product’ — one that doesn’t break significant new ground — but the company hopes to make the car stand out with a sleek design, safety systems and unique user interface,” wrote Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.
A four-year wait
There have been very optimistic predictions of an Apple car debut in the past — at one point, it was hoped the product would be out in 2023. But downshifting the self-driving capability is a win for those who’d like to see an Apple-branded EV at some point in the foreseeable future. Even if the wait is until 2028, as Bloomberg‘s sources indicate.
The goal of making a vehicle with Level 5 autonomy depended on someone developing technology that doesn’t currently exist and has proved very difficult to create. Apple now intends to make a car that’s possible with existing tech.
Another advantage of reducing the feature set is lowering the cost. Not that the product is going to be cheap – the goal is supposedly to keep the price below $100,000.