Apple’s highly anticipated “Apple Car” project is undergoing a significant shift, transitioning from a fully autonomous vehicle to an electric vehicle (EV) more aligned with Tesla’s offerings. The launch is now scheduled for 2028, with a notable reduction in self-driving capabilities, as reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Originally envisioned as a Level 5 autonomous car, Apple’s new direction involves a Level 2+ system, representing partial automation. This adjustment means that while the Apple Car will feature some self-driving capabilities, it will still necessitate the driver’s full attention during operation.
The Level 2+ system is expected to include limited self-driving features such as lane centering and braking/accelerating support, similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, classified as Level 2 automation. This strategic shift is deemed by Apple as a “pivotal moment,” with the success of the scaled-down Apple Car considered crucial for the entire project.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman emphasizes the significance of this change, stating, “Either the company is finally able to deliver this product with reduced expectations or top executives may seriously reconsider the project’s existence.” Apple has discussed its revised strategy with potential manufacturing partners in Europe, intending to eventually offer a Level 4 autonomous system, but the initial launch will adopt a more modest approach.
The decision-making process leading to this shift was described as “frenzied,” involving key figures such as CEO Tim Cook, the Apple board, and project head Kevin Lynch. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into Project Titan since the mid-2010s, focusing on powertrains, self-driving hardware and software, car interiors and exteriors, and other essential components.
As Apple navigates this pivotal juncture in the development of the Apple Car, the industry awaits the 2028 launch to witness the manifestation of this evolved vision in the electric vehicle landscape.