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April 2024

Artificial intelligence pulls the plug on Project Titan: Apple says goodbye to iCar

Enrica Lazzarini

It’s the end of Apple’s secret self-driving car project
Apple has definitively shut down Titan, the decade-long project for the production of a self-driving car: the dream of a Cupertino-branded iCar is shattered, a strategic change of direction dictated by artificial intelligence. Apple, in fact, is reportedly focusing its resources on the development of increasingly advanced generative AI technologies, considering this sector a priority for its future.
Apple's chief operating officer Jeff Williams and project manager Kevin Lynch broke the news to the team. The approximately two thousand people working on the so-called Apple Car will largely be transferred and relocated within Apple's AI division.

What is (or what was) the Titan project?

Born in 2014 under the veil of utmost secrecy, the Titan project has suffered numerous obstacles and delays over the years. The dedicated team, made up of hundreds of engineers from different car companies, faced technical challenges from designing a revolutionary battery to perfecting the autonomous driving system. Arrival on the markets had recently been postponed until 2028 and autonomous driving abandoned in favour of a much less futuristic advanced level 2 assisted driving (the same as provided as standard on the Tesla Model 3, to be precise).
The difficulties encountered, coupled with high costs and increasingly fierce competition in the automotive sector, would have prompted Apple to reconsider its priorities.

AI and the future of Apple

According to analysts, the cancellation of the Titan project is a clear sign of Apple's new focus on artificial intelligence. The Cupertino company would be investing considerable resources in the development of increasingly sophisticated AI technologies, an area in which Cupertino is in danger of losing ground to its competitors Microsoft and Google and which would have greater returns in the long term.
The goal would be the integration of AI in all its products and services, first and foremost iOS 18 coming next September, revolutionising the way flagship products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch are used, introducing new features and improving the user experience. In addition, Apple could exploit AI to develop new products and services in unexplored areas such as home automation, health and finance.

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