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Insights into Apple car

Report reveals global tech giant’s driverless vehicle project cost US$1 billion a year.
Posted on 29 March, 2024
Insights into Apple car

Apple is said to have discussed potential partnerships with Ford, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Canoo, Tesla and McLaren at various stages of its effort to develop an autonomous vehicle before scrapping the programme last month.

Co-founder Steve Jobs, pictured, even proposed buying General Motors in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, according to Bloomberg.

Project Titan, as Apple called it, cost the tech company about US$1 billion per annum, but never reached the point when any full-scale prototypes were tested on public roads.

The company started hiring hundreds of engineers nearly a decade ago and originally aimed to start sales in 2020, the report states, but by early 2020 the team’s creation – a rounded four-seat microbus dubbed the Bread Loaf – was still five years off production.

Among other revelations in Bloomberg’s account, which was based on interviews with anonymous sources, include:

• Apple considered trying to buy Tesla when it was still worth less than US$30b, but chief executive Tim Cook killed the idea. It later met with Elon Musk to discuss a collaboration, but discussions didn’t progress.

• Apple talked with Mercedes-Benz “for a few months” about an idea to have the latter build the car and put Apple’s self-driving platform into the German marque’s vehicles. However, it ultimately decided it wanted to build the car on its own.

• Talks with BMW, Volkswagen and Canoo fizzled out, but Apple came close to reaching a deal with McLaren.

• Ford proposed selling Apple cars through its Lincoln brand, but discussions ended after a preliminary meeting.

In addition, Apple wanted to charge US$85,000 for its vehicle, but internal estimates put the cost of production at about US$120,000, reports Automotive News. The tech giant bought Chrysler’s old proving ground in Arizona in 2021 and is now putting the property back on the market.

Photo: Matthew Yohe, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons