The last we heard, Apple’s “top secret” self-driving car project — known internally as ‘Project Titan’ — had been halted by a few, unexpected bumps in the road. After a major shift in focus, following a big shake-up in the team and its upper management, the project seemed to be back on track, once again.
Well, while many of us are likely expecting an actual, perhaps futuristic looking vehicle from Apple, it appears that the Silicon Valley tech-giant now has other plans in mind — insofar as its automotive ambitions are pertinent. According to a recent report from Bloomberg, a team of former QNX engineers — headed by former CEO, Dan Dodge — are working to develop a car-based operating system out of Apple’s Ottawa, Canada offices.
QNX is a software engineering firm best known for its former role as Blackberry’s automotive software division. As for Dan Dodge, the former chief executive of QNX: he was hired on by Apple at the beginning of this year, and given the lead role at the top of Apple’s ‘Project Titan’, as the autonomous car project was going through its most trying phase.
According to the Bloomberg report, Apple recently opened a new testing division at its Kanata, Ottawa, Canada office complex, whereat the newly formed ‘Project Titan’ team will work together to test and refine Apple’s self-driving carOS in the division’s “virtual reality simulator.” Since Apple has no hardware, as in an actual test car like Google’s, for example, such a virtual reality-testing environment is necessary, as it allows the company to work out any issues with its software in a variety of controlled, virtual settings — such as a busy city or open highway.
As with all major corporate shake-ups, Apple’s is one that comes with its own litany of good and bad news, respectively. The bad news is that it doesn’t appear we’ll ever get to drive an actual, Apple-branded car. The company has shifted focus, and is now more interested in developing self-driving car software, complete with an in-cabin experience of some sort. Exactly how said software will be implemented, and to what extent, however, still remains unknown.
The good news, on the other hand, is now that Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ has forged a new path forward, with a considerably narrowed down objective, the company has etched in stone a hard deadline for the completion of its car operating system — by the end of 2017 — which sounds better to us than waiting until 2019, right?
What do you think about Apple developing a new automotive operating system rather than a physical Apple Car? Let us know in the comments!