Apple to test self-driving Palo Alto-Cupertino employee shuttle

Posted August 24, 2017

That project, which will use conventional cars with self-driving kit bolted on, is known as "Pail", standing for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop, the street address of the company's main campus.

Apple's Titan auto project (though many had dubbed it iCar) has been secretly putting the autonomus technology to the test for some years now, with suggestions late last year that it was being downscaled. The documents also included a copy of the testing process Apple used to certify six drivers who will pilot three modified 2015 Lexus RX450h vehicles.

Apple stepped up to regain course in the project previous year when it put longtime executive Bob Mansfield, in charge of Titan.

The project, called "Titan", was discussed with the New York Times with none of the parties having authorization to speak of Titan. From the approach, it was clear that Apple was focused on doing away with the awkward cone preferring a clean design.

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It is alleged that while Steve Zadesky, the Apple executive who was initially in charge of Titan, was keen to pursue the path of developing semiautonomous cars, the industrial design team, including Apple's chief designer Jonathan Ive, wanted the company to work on fully driverless cars because this would allow the company to reimagine the automobile experience, according to the five people.

Apple is planning a self-driving shuttle-service that will carry employees between the company's various Silicon Valley offices, the New York Times reported, citing a number of people familiar with Apple's vehicle project, code-named "Titan". Engineers not only tried to write a "CarOS" to control autonomous vehicles, but investigated details like motorized doors and interior that featured augmented-reality displays, but lacked steering wheels and pedals. There was fierce debate about whether it should be programmed using Swift, Apple's own programming language, or the industry standard, C++.

Apple is a relatively recent entrant to the field. Even so, Uber's self-driving technology unit is still hiring, and Uber's board continues to support the project, this person told us. Apple's recruitment of Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX, Blackberry's (formerly RIM) automotive software division marks a shift in emphasis toward creating software for autonomous vehicles. But, the other side, with people like Jonathan Ive, Apple's VP for design, wanted to reimagine the entire automobile experience with a fully autonomous vehicle.

Apple reps declined to comment when we reached out abouy the report, which is unsurprising given the company's policy to stay mum on product rumors.