Apple Car Plans Shift Again, Aiming for 2028 Launch with Level 2+ Autonomy

Apple has reportedly downscaled its plans for a self-driving car and pushed the launch date to 2028. This move represents a recalibration of the company’s approach to entering the electric vehicle (EV) market, a project that has been in the works since 2014.

The project, codenamed Titan and later T172, has been one of Apple’s most ambitious and tumultuous endeavors. It has seen dozens of leadership changes, strategy shifts, and numerous delays. Initially, Apple targeted a 2019 release, which was later postponed to 2026. Now those plans have shifted yet again, with Apple now reportedly targeting a release in 2028, and with a watered down version of the self-driving car.

Originally, Apple aimed to revolutionize the industry with a fully autonomous vehicle, potentially without a steering wheel or pedals. However, according to a report from Bloomberg, challenges and strategic reassessments have led to a more conservative design featuring Level 2+ autonomy. This system will include capabilities like autonomous lane centering and adaptive cruise control but will require driver attention and the possibility of manual intervention.

The project has been a substantial financial commitment for Apple, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on development over the project’s 10 year history.

Internally, the latest shift is viewed as a more pragmatic approach, focusing on attainable goals while maintaining the potential for future advancements in autonomy. The vehicle’s design, safety features, and user interface are expected to reflect Apple’s emphasis on aesthetics and functionality, distinguishing it in a crowded market.

The strategic pivot comes after intensive deliberations involving Apple’s board, CEO Tim Cook, and project head Kevin Lynch. Internal perspectives suggest that this move could be pivotal: either it leads to a successful product launch with adjusted expectations, or it may prompt a serious reconsideration of the project’s viability.

This shift in strategy also aligns with Apple’s broader search for new growth avenues beyond its core smartphone business, which has seen plateauing sales. Entering the EV market, even with a less ambitious product, could open new revenue streams and mark Apple’s entry into a rapidly evolving industry.

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