The Apple car to have fewer autonomous features and won’t launch until 2028

Apple Car concept
(Image credit: Vanarama)

It appears that Apple has decided to pivot and change its original concept of how an Apple car will some point in the future, when it introduces such a product. Originally, the cryptic and mythic EV—codenamed "Project Titan" roughly ten years ago, when plans for the project began—was supposed to function as a driverless car. But that has changed.          

Now, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple executives has dramatically scaled back ambitions. In fact, the company has “pivoted to a less ambitious design.... After previously envisioning a truly driverless car, the company is now working on an EV with more limited features….” 

Gurman also notes that Apple plans on rolling back the launch date from 2026 to 2028 for the Apple car. (This isn't the first delay. Apple delayed the launch back in December of 2022, when it pushed the launch date to 2026.) Gurman also noted that the project has, over the years has "seen several bosses come and go. There have been multiple rounds of layoffs, key changes in strategy and numerous delays." 

The Apple car will be less ambitious then when the concept was introduced ten years ago

But how exactly is Apple scaling back such autonomous features? What does such changes actually mean?  

According to the Bloomberg story, “Apple is developing more basic driver-assistance features in line with current Tesla Inc. capabilities, according to the people with knowledge of the plans. The car will use what is known as a Level 2+ system, the people said. That’s a downgrade from previously planned Level 4 technology — and, before that, even more ambitious aims for a Level 5 system.”

The different levels Gurman refers to come from standards set by SAE International, which is a global professional association and standards organization. 

For Level 4 and 5 systems, the standards state that "these automated driving features will not require you to take over driving." However, Level 2 states, "You must constantly supervise these support features; you must steer, brake or accelerate as needed to maintain safety."  

Gurman also notes how much this has cost Apple: “The car has been one of the company’s most expensive research and development projects for the better part of a decade, with Apple spending hundreds of millions of dollars…. And yet, the vehicle has never successfully reached a formal prototype stage.” Not surprisingly, the situation may result in further management changes. 

Terry Sullivan

Terry Sullivan has tested and reported on many different types of consumer electronics and technology services, including cameras, action cams, mobile devices, streaming music services, wireless speakers, headphones, smart-home devices, and mobile apps. He has also written extensively on various trends in the worlds of technology, multimedia, and the arts. For more than 10 years, his articles and blog posts have appeared in a variety of publications and websites, including The New York Times, Consumer Reports, PCMag, Worth magazine, Popular Science, Tom’s Guide, and Artnews. He is also a musician, photographer, artist, and teacher.

  • naddy69
    Electric cars look great on paper. Not so great in reality. With all the delays/layoffs/changes, I will not be surprised to read that it has been quietly killed in a couple years.
  • Annie_M
    naddy69 said:
    Electric cars look great on paper. Not so great in reality. With all the delays/layoffs/changes, I will not be surprised to read that it has been quietly killed in a couple years.
    I suspect that you are right!