Sometimes no news is good news. But, it really all depends on how we assess the situation. A few anonymous sources told the media that Apple is revamping its self-driving initiative.
With this news came information that Apple has laid off dozens of employees involved with Project Titan. Remember, however, that all along, news and rumors have told us that Apple may not even be focusing on autonomy as a number one priority for the initial Apple Car. Much of what has come forward has been about Apple working on an electric car, and/or Apple entering the transportation segment, perhaps in the capacity of ride-sharing.
Apple has invested substantial amounts of money and hired top-tier employees in its very secretive car project. Just recently, reports shared that the project may be leaning more towards self-driving. This information came to light following the hire of new project boss, Bob Mansfield.
At a time when Tesla is dealing with the aftermath of a fatal Autopilot crash, and many companies are invested in autonomous vehicles, Apple has some decisions to make. The project has seen some speed bumps, and nothing has been officially divulged to the public, aside from CEO Tim Cook’s twisted clues.
We do know that Apple has invested billions into China’s largest ride-sharing company, Didi Chuxing. We also know that Uber has sold its Chinese operations to Didi. Uber is now focusing more on the U.S. and other markets. The company has recently purchased Otto, a start-up with experience in robots and autonomous technology. These are areas that Apple would be hard pressed to not succeed in, and the company is driving more and more into service-based industry.
So what does this information leak mean?
- Apple could be simply focusing energy back on the actual Apple Car, with autonomous technology taking a back seat. This wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, especially with Tesla’s current concerns and mounting competition. This would mean that Apple may not need the autonomous technology experts involved, until a later date.
- Apple could be pulling focus away from making it’s own car, and just diving deeper into the autonomous technology, so the company can move into the market sooner, and become the industry leader in the segment. This would mean laying off employees specifically dedicated to engineering the vehicle itself. Apple could provide world-class self-driving technology services.
- Apple could be focusing on Didi Chuxing and possibly the acquisition of other ride-sharing companies. The company could even be working toward providing its own “Apple Transit” venture. Apple could become Uber’s top competitor. Uber is not making cars. Why should Apple have to make its own car to dominate the world of mobility? The autonomous technology, paired with the best app-based services provided worldwide by a known and trusted company, seems like the perfect plan.
Who knows? There could be a myriad of reasons that Apple is redirecting its energy and resources. Notice that those that came forward with this information made no mention of Apple giving up. The company has been invested in the project for some time and has passed the leadership baton. Employees have changed and the market has changed. Research and development has had some time to come to some reasonable amount of fruition, to allow the company to make decisions as to direction.
We can only wait and hope that Apple is putting together a “master plan” that will rival the likes of any other in the automotive and transportation segment.
What do you think Apple plans to accomplish?
Source (New York Times)