iPhone could be key to Apple Car (and that’s just the start)

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Project Titan
Apple is invested heavily in self-driving tech.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

The iPhone could transform into a secure version of a key fob that not only unlocks your vehicle, but it could also summon a parked vehicle to come to you.

Apple drops a breadcrumb on the path to an autonomous vehicle future, offering a possible glimpse into its Project Titan with a patent application for a keyless entry system.

Apple reinvents seatbelt with gesture controls

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Project Titan seatbelt
Simple drawing of a sophisticated seatbelt.
Photo: Apple/USPTO

Project Titan may take the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands, but controlling the car could be as easy as gesturing at the seatbelt.

Apple has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that details a smart seatbelt with a surface that would sense hand gestures for adjusting the entertainment system and operating various features in self-driving vehicles.

Ride over for 200 employees of Apple’s autonomous vehicle program

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Apple Car might be coming, but will it be special?
Apple keeps so quiet about its vehicle program that this concept someone dreamed up is the best image we have.
Image: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Normally, Apple keeps mum about its self-driving car program but it has officially acknowledged a bit of restructuring in the project. This involved a reduction in its headcount.

The employees weren’t fired, and the move is being positioned as a restructuring after a new manager joined the program in August.

Apple may hit the brakes on autonomous vehicle program

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Project Titan
Apple’s test vehicles from its self-driving car project could be headed for the highway exit.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Apple’s self-driving car development could be headed for a cliff. Maybe. A questionable report from industry analysts says that there are layoffs in this division and the whole project might even be scrapped.

The cause is supposedly the slowdown in iPhone sales caused by the weakening Chinese economy. The reduction in revenue leaves less room for non-core programs.

Apple poaches car design expert from Tesla

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Project Titan
Vehicles testing Appe’s self-driving technology have external sensors. A new hire could help create their final look.
Photo: Idiggapple/Twitter

Andrew Kim used to be a senior designer at Tesla where he contributed to the development of numerous car models. Recently, however, he joined the list of people who’ve left that car company for Apple. 

It’s not yet known what projects Kim is working on for his new employer, but he could be contributing to Apple’s autonomous vehicle project. That said, Kim’s design experience extends beyond cars.