Apple To Develop Autonomous Navigation Software Instead Of Developing The Car Itself

Sep 12, 2016 07:20 AM EDT | Sovan Mandal

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There is a significant change in the status of the Apple Car project so that the emphasis no longer is on developing the Apple Car itself.

Rather, the company seems to be keener on developing the autonomous navigation software instead, the New York Times reported.

This has been accompanied by dozens of layoffs while several of the internal projects were reported to have been shut off entirely. The project that is known internally as "Titan" has struggled to make progress and the latest seems to be a major shake-up that could change the very dynamics of Apple's car venture.

With the focus now on developing the autonomous navigations software instead of the actual vehicle, Apple might settle for a smaller scope with its automobile venture. For instance, it might keep itself limited to developing the software that other automakers can rely on to impart self-driving attributes to a car.

In any case, experts have always been skeptical of Apple's abilities in developing a car which is an entirely different ballgame than making electronic gadgets.

According to Engadget, the shift in priorities with Project Titan which is being referred to internally as a "reboot" has been affected by Bob Mansfield, a long-time Apple loyalist who has been brought over to ensure the project makes sense.

Making electric cars that drive on its own seems to be the hippest thing at the moment. Unfortunately for Apple, it has a lot of catching up to do as companies like Tesla have already piled on a lot of expertise in the field. Uber too is keen to have self-driving cars in its fleet and has recently acquired Otto, a start-up that specialises in robotics and autonomous tech.

Others like Volvo along with the German luxury car makers have stated they intend to have autonomous driving tech ready by the end of the decade, possibly even earlier.

Japan meanwhile has gone a step ahead and has formed a consortium comprising of domestic car manufacturers together with a map maker to develop high-definition 3D map of its entire roadways and associated infrastructure. This, in turn, will augment its efforts to launch autonomous cars by the time Olympics 2020 gets underway in the country.

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