Apple Car almost ran into jogger during test, lack of support from some senior executives

Apple Car almost ran into jogger during test, lack of support from some senior executives

The opening photo in this article is an independently created illustration by CarScoops’ artist Josh Byrnes. It is a speculative drawing that is not related to or endorsed by Apple.

Apple’s self-driving car faces serious hurdles in a new expanded project chronology by The information has revealed. The report claims that the car is a victim of software issues and project management turmoil.

Code-named Project Titan, the Apple Car has managed to demonstrate some impressive skills, such as autonomously conducting “a DMV test to show off its abilities”. However, it may have fallen into the “demoware” issue. The vehicles (currently modified Lexus SUVs) can perform well on predetermined routes, but struggle on roads that have not been extensively mapped and often relinquish control to the backup human driver.

The most notable event occurred when a jogger crossed paths with the car earlier this year. The vehicle “only slightly adjusted its path” and Apple concluded that it would have hit the jogger if the human driver hadn’t jumped on the brakes. These are all major problems for a vehicle that Apple wants to sell without a steering wheel or brake pedal, something that requires special exemptions from NHTSA.

Also read: Apple catches 31-year-old Ford Exec for supporting the development of their electric car

While all autonomous vehicles have development issues, the Project Titan team has had its own setbacks. Although it did well under the leadership of Doug Field, who took over the project in 2018, he was poached by Ford in 2021. His short tenure was described as the company’s “best chance of releasing a car,” but he had three leaders. in the past five years means the team has no clear direction, according to sources who spoke to The Information.

The problem only gets bigger the higher up Apple’s executive structure. Sources complained that Apple’s CEO Tim Cook could have been a stable figure for the project through his management changes, but that has kept the Apple Car at bay and rarely visiting its offices.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, has reportedly expressed concerns about the project to other executives and is a known skeptic. Project Titan is also reportedly being mocked by other parts of Apple for its constant setbacks and reset targets.

See: Imagine what Apple’s foray into the automotive world might look like

None of that is good news for the team that wants to get a concept car on the road and in front of the media as early as next year. The good news is that Jony Ive, a former head of design at Apple, is advising on the project.

The designer reportedly tells Apple to “lean into the craziness of the car’s design” and “not try to hide the sensors.” The design will reportedly include “four seats that face inward” and “a curved ceiling similar to the roof of a Volkswagen Beetle.” The team is also experimenting with a boot that can lift to give owners “easier access to storage space” and seats that fold flat to allow occupants to sleep.

Whether Project Titan’s software engineers will ever get the car to allow its occupants to sleep is another question, especially as federal regulators tighten the safety of autonomous vehicles.