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Apple Car project troubled by management demos and uncertain timeline

The Apple Car project suffered repeated setbacks throughout its development, in part due to the need to constantly prove its worth to management, according to a report, with Apple having spent much of the last eight years struggling to maintain effort on a positive trajectory.


Apple has been working on some form of automotive project for a long time, which is rumored to range from designing cars to creating self-driving systems. In a profile of the project as a whole, it appears that the attempt to impact the automotive industry is on rocky ground.

In a key example from the article by InformationApple used a number of prototype self-driving vehicles to travel 40 miles through Montana in August 2021. The project, which was filmed via drones, was for the creation of a polished video for Apple’s senior management , including CEO Tim Cook, to demonstrate it was still going well.

Although the video demonstration was a success, notably demonstrating that the vehicles could be driven without the need for high-definition three-dimensional road maps during the drive, it was short-lived. The same vehicles driving through Silicon Valley were still suffering from problems, including lane issues and curb hits.

The article, based on interviews with 20 people who worked on the project, goes on to say that it was an example of the problems caused by “ever-changing goals” and the “revolving door of leaders”. , in turn caused by an uncertainty of the project itself.

Employee changes have been numerous, including rumors in March that it was disbanded. High profile departures include director of machine learning Ian Goodfellow and automotive engineer CJ Moore in May,

The example also showed how engineers are “wasting valuable time choreographing demonstrations” along known routes, proving the technology works in specific places but virtually nowhere else.

“If you spend enough money, you can get almost any fixed route to work,” explained former Uber self-driving vehicle engineer Arun Venkatadri. “But what’s not shown is whether you can build your self-driving software in a scalable way and whether you can operate in a reasonably broad area.”

There has also been supposed skepticism from senior management about the project as a whole, which is said to have cost more than $1 billion a year in research and development. Sources say Cook’s tendency to distance himself from product designs and a resistance to visiting the Titan Project offices are meant to hurt the program, and that Cook’s reluctance to commit to mass production has frustrated executives. project managers.

Software chief Craig Federighi was also reportedly skeptical of the project. Meanwhile, amid ridicule of management changes, Apple officials reportedly warned employees to steer clear of the project altogether.

Read on AppleInsider

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