The long-rumoured Apple car was indeed real, but will now likely not see the light of day after plans for the program were abandoned, a report has claimed
Bloomberg says that hundreds of members of Apple’s 1,000 person car team have been reassigned, let go, or have left of their own volition in recent months”, according to sources.
Remaining resources are now working on an autonomous driving system that can either be licensed out to existing car manufacturers or possibly returned to at a later date, depending on what can be delivered by a new 2017 project deadline.
The collapse has been described as an incredible failure of leadership”. The first wave of job losses hit in August, with a second round in September. Several top figures also chose to leave of their own accord. Apple reportedly had a hard time getting to grips with the unfamiliar automotive supply chains, which were a world away from the realm of smartphones, over which it exerts huge influence.
The plan had been to launch a car by the early 2020’s, with a remit of redefining cars in the same way that the iPhone redefined mobile phones. The idea was to directly compete with rival car tech giant Tesla, with the original pitch being for a car that would recognise the driver by their fingerprint and autonomously navigate to a destination with a single button press.
Earlier plans did include a steering wheel and pedals, although later plans abandoned these in favour of full autonomy.