Apple to test self-driving systems on employee shuttles

Phillip Butler
August 24, 2017

It is unclear if the shuttle, nicknamed PAIL (Palo Alto to Infinite Loop), will stop at Apple's new campus, which sits a few miles north of Infinite Loop.

Apparently, after some infighting over building a fully autonomous vehicle versus a semi-autonomous auto, Apple pruned its plans back to a new so-called carOS. The shuttle, which has never been reported before, will likely be a commercial vehicle from an automaker and will use it to test the autonomous driving that it develops.

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

Apple also wanted to integrate all the sensors seamlessly into the vehicle to avoid the bumps and cones on current self-driving cars.

The project, called "Titan", was discussed with the New York Times with none of the parties having authorization to speak of Titan. Ever since the original iPhone changed the mobile landscape 10 years ago, Apple has been under pressure to produce the "next big thing".

In mid-June, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, in an interview published by Bloomberg, confirmed that the tech company is working on the "autonomous systems" behind driverless cars.

A report in the New York Times claims that Apple is abandoning any hope of building an Apple Car, and has turned instead to working on the technology that powers autonomous vehicles and cars. 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.

Such lofty goals in such a nascent area of technology, along with alleged "arbitrary or unrealistic deadlines" and "shifting priorities", ensnared Apple, according to the employees. Time will tell if Apple will be the one to make that revolution happen. While the bus isn't yet running, it's hard to imagine Apple employees needing a lift and chirping, "Let's go hop in the PAIL!" It is specifically seeking out people with autonomous vehicle software experience. The new prototype by Apple according to the sources will be ferrying people from one office to the other. There was fierce debate about whether it should be programmed using Swift, Apple's own programming language, or the industry standard, C++.

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.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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