After losing key players involved in the development of its car, Apple is scaling back on self-driving features and also pushing back the launch date.
Apple‘s first electric vehicle has been in development for a while, but there are some significant changes coming to its plans to make a fully autonomous car with no steering wheel or pedals. Apple isn’t the only tech company that has automotive plans or is involved in electric vehicles. China’s Huawei has been providing technology used in electric cars made by partner companies for years. Some of its car technologies include Huawei DriveONE, which is a 3-in-1 electric drive system, Huawei HiCar, similar to Google’s Android Automotive platform, and Huawei Sound, an audio solution for cars. Huawei even sells some of these cars in its stores.
Another big tech company with automotive plans is Xiaomi. Unlike Huawei, Xiaomi isn’t developing technology to be used by other car companies but plans to make its own. The first model, a four-door sedan, is expected to release in 2024, with Xiaomi starting construction of its first car factory in Beijing earlier this year. However, there are also reports it may partner with Chinese car brands to launch jointly-developed models.
According to a Bloomberg report, the upcoming Apple Car will not only be different from its previous proposal but will also be arriving later than planned. Apple’s ambitious plan for its first electric vehicle plan was to make it fully autonomous with no steering wheel or pedals. Unfortunately, the car project, called ‘Titan’ internally, will no longer be fully autonomous as current technology can’t pull it off. Instead, it will only be capable of self-driving on highways and will have a steering wheel and pedals for driver input, like other cars.
Apple’s EV Will Cost Under $100,000
Apple appears to have figured out that achieving a fully autonomous vehicle is difficult. Even Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta package, which is now available for all Tesla owners in North America, requires some driver input, even though its capabilities are as close to autonomous as possible. The Apple EV’s full self-driving feature isn’t the only big change. The car will also be arriving in 2026 instead of the originally planned date of 2025. A little over a year ago, it was reported that Apple was speeding up its plans to launch the product in 2025 instead of its original plans to launch it in five to seven years.
The delay is likely due to reports of the project being in limbo for several months as engineers tried to figure out how to achieve full-autonomous driving. In addition, Apple’s Titan has lost key players involved in the project, like Doug Field, who was in charge of the special project but left for Ford Motors in September 2021. Finally, early reports suggest that Apple plans to sell the consumer model of the car for under $100,000, bringing it in line with most available and upcoming luxury electric vehicles.