Apple’s self-driving car project isn’t quite ready for prime time

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Apple car
Apple Car still needs some improvement.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

Apple’s autonomous car project is certainly exciting for Apple fans. It’s likely to be a while longer before the company is ready to officially launch what it’s been working on, however.

That’s according to a new “Disengagement Report” which covers the period December 2017 through November 2018. It refers to instances in which self-driving vehicles being tested on California roads had to pass control back to the human driver behind the wheel.

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

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Apple's Car
Apple keeps so quiet about its vehicle program that this concept someone dreamed up is the best image we have.
Photo: 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’s latest self-driving car crash is just another fender bender

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Apple car
Why are Waymo's self-driving cars involved in so many more crashes than Apple's?
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

A car designed to test Apple’s self-driving system was involved in a minor accident Monday, but a human was driving at the time. This is only the second such crash of an Apple car on record.

Google, and its autonomous vehicle spinoff Waymo, haven’t been so lucky over the years.

Apple’s self-driving car fleet lags behind Waymo and GM

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Apple Car
Apple's Lexus is decked out in sensors.
Photo: Bloomberg

Apple’s fleet of self-driving cars is expanding at an astonishing pace after starting with just three vehicles a year ago.

New records posted by the California Department of Motor Vehicles reveals that Apple currently has the third largest number of autonomous cars in the state, but it’s closing the gap on the Google’s self-driving car project that holds the number two spot.

Apple could fix Tesla’s crippling production problems

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Tesla
Apple expertise could help Tesla meet its production goals for the Model 3. And Tesla could help create the iCar.
Photo: Tesla

Tesla is struggling to get its cars into customer’s hands. Apple is quietly developing its own self-driving car. The two should team up, according to one investor.

Apple would provide its long experience in bringing high tech products to market. Tesla would contribute fresh ideas to the partnership.

Why Apple should build a car

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Apple's Car
Something like this concept Apple car would become a reality if a couple of analysts are correct.
Photo: Aristomenis Tsirbas/Freelancer

For the last few years, Apple has been investigating making autonomous cars, even though this is well outside its core competency of computers and their accessories.

The move leaves many observers scratching their heads, but a pair of analysts put together reasons why self-driving automobiles should be Apple’s next product category.

Apple now has second biggest fleet of self-driving test cars in California

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lexus
The 2015 Lexus RX450h is Apple's vehicle of choice.
Photo: Lexus

Apple still hasn’t publicly announced its plans when it comes to autonomous cars. However, in the meantime it continues to grow its fleet of self-driving test cars — which are now the second largest in the state of California.

At present, Apple has 55 self-driving vehicles that it is testing on public roads. That’s up from just three in April 2017, little over one year ago. In March this year, that number was at 45. Apple lags only behind GM Cruise, which has 104 test vehicles on the road.

Today in Apple history: Apple teams with Volkswagen for VW iBeetle

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The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
The first Apple car, a collaboration with VW known as the iBeetle, rolls onto the scene.
Photo: Volkswagen

April 22: Today in Apple history: Apple teams with VW for the iBeetle April 22, 2013: The world gets its first Apple car. Well, kind of.

In reality, the iBeetle is a collaboration with German carmaker Volkswagen that offers a car “stylistically linked” to Apple. This means Apple-inspired colors, a built-in docking station for your iPhone, and a special app that lets you control the car’s features.