The project appears to "have lost all visibility at the moment."
A prominent Apple analyst has suggested that the tech company's autonomous car project may not see the light of day, reports MacRumors.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at TF International Securities, shared that the Apple Car project appears to "have lost all visibility at the moment." Kuo noted that if Apple did not implement an acquisition strategy to enter this uncharted segment, he doubts "that the Apple Car can go into mass production within the next years."
The autonomous vehicle, Project Titan, was supposed to arrive in 2024. The project was then pushed back by two years, with reports suggesting the car will carry a price tag of $100,000. Industry experts have said the vehicle is on track to arrive by 2026. Daniel Ives, managing director of Wedbush Securities, said, "It's a matter of when, not if," when asked about the project earlier this year.
Earlier rumors suggested that Apple's autonomous vehicle would head into the testing phase by 2025, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore.
According to the report, Apple has shifted its energy into developing the Vision Pro, a sophisticated mixed-reality headset due next year. The departure of a senior executive couldn't have helped the Apple Car project, but the tech company has poached talent from the automotive world, including Luigi Taraborrelli, who worked at Lamborghini for more than two decades.
Initially, Apple planned for its first-ever car to arrive as a fully autonomous vehicle with no controls for a driver. This has since been described as unfeasible, and the car will reportedly come with a conventional steering wheel and pedals. This probably means the vehicle would only operate as a self-driving car in certain conditions, much like a Mercedes-Benz S-Class with Drive Pilot technology.
The Cupertino-based tech giant is yet to appoint a manufacturing partner for its vehicle, so Kuo's claims may have some validity. Foxconn, one of Apple's manufacturing partners, manufactures Endurance pickup trucks for Lordstown, although that partnership has not been going well.
The Taiwanese giant has also expressed interest in producing Teslas, so there's a chance that Foxconn could build the Apple Car.
Recent reports suggest the self-driving Apple vehicle will use a combination of radar, LiDAR, and cameras for its autonomous capabilities, along with a "cloud-based component to process information and data." Perhaps we will see a final design this year, but we're not holding out much hope. We're just interested to see whether Apple can compete with the likes of Tesla, BMW, and Cadillac. If Apple wants to justify the six-figure price tag, it will have to beat the best EVs on the market.