Apple wanted spherical wheels for its autonomous auto

Posted August 24, 2017

The new effort is reportedly called PAIL, short for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop.

In February 2015, Business Insider reported an email from an Apple employee which stated that the company was working on something that will give "Tesla a run for its money". However, head designer Jony Ive wanted a re-imagined, fully autonomous vehicle, despite the fact that no automaker or tech company has come close to that ideal. After longtime Apple hardware executive Bob Mansfield took over the Titan project past year, he shifted its focus from building a vehicle to the technology behind it, the Times said.

Even if Apple had been able to figure everything out, it still would have been faced with the challenge of manufacturing its own auto.

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This has been the trend in Silicon Valley where technology companies are embarking on autonomous driving technology while staying clear of manufacturing cars.

The man behind the change seems to be Bob Mansfield. They had also experimented with swapping the steering wheel for a sphere that would have given "better lateral movement", whatever the New York Times journalist means by that.

As recently as August that year, the company had been explicitly focused on building its own vehicle, and only releasing its creations to the public when they were capable of full automation, also known as "level-five" automation.

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Apple's self-driving technology project, called Titan, will instead work on the system that will allow cars to drive on its own.

Apple brought on a number of engineers with a variety of expertise in order to control all aspects of production, including ones with auto design and manufacturing experience, as well as others who work with the software that could eventually run the vehicle. Team members complained of shifting priorities and arbitrary or unrealistic deadlines. Cook mentioned how the modern descendants of the Model- T would be shaken to the very chassis, with the growing importance of software and shift away from internal combustion engine, along with the rise of autonomous vehicles. On one hand, Steve Zadesky, who was in charge of the project, wanted to create a semi-autonomous vehicle. There was fierce debate about whether it should be programmed using Swift, Apple's own programming language, or the industry standard, C++.

Apple's headlong foray into autonomous vehicles underscores one of the biggest challenges facing the company: finding the next breakthrough product. What we didn't know were many specifics about what Apple thought it could do if it did build a vehicle.

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