The concept of self-driving cars has seen a new Revolution in technology and help companies push into the auto industry, which is estimated to be worth $6.7 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Co. Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit has confirmed partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Lyft Inc. to advance the technology. And carmakers from BMW AGto General Motors Co. have started sizable Silicon Valley offices and dedicated hundreds of millions of dollars to obtain autonomous vehicle startups.
Apple had initially been seeking to produce its own car, before recalibrating those goals last year to prioritize the underlying technology for autonomous driving, News reported. The iPhone maker had hired more than 1,000 technicians to work on Project Titan, as the car team is known within after it started in 2014.
Ballooning charges and headcount headed to Apple expert Bob Mansfield being given the reins of the team in 2016. Cook has never before openly described Apple’s plans, though public filings have surfaced in recent months that gave snapshots of Apple’s efforts.
The iPhone maker secured a permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April to test three self-driving sports-utility vehicles, photos of which emerged several weeks later. A half-dozen vehicles had been secretly testing the autonomous technology on public roads in and around the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year, according to someone close with Project Titan. Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr declined to comment on how long the company has been carrying road tests.
In December, Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealing the company’s interest in automotive technology. It became public when it was published on a central website. In the letter, Kenner wrote about the company’s enthusiasm surrounding the potential for automated systems in fields like transportation.
Cook was also bullish about the possibilities for electric vehicles, a market which last week helped Tesla Inc. become the world’s fourth-biggest carmaker by market capitalization, even as it ranks well outside the top 10 by unit sales.