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Apple Made ‘Missteps’ With Driverless Cars, Might Ditch The Plan All Together

Left: [STEPHEN LAM/Getty Images] Right: [ANGELO MERENDINO/AFP/Getty Images]

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Apple’s ambitions to develop a driverless car appear to be simmering, while other companies’ autonomous tech endeavors are continuing or heating up.

Internally called “Titan,” Apple’s self-driving car project was originally launched to create a brand-named vehicle that could drive with very little, if any, human assistance. But five people who have some sort of association with the venture told The New York Times there were “missteps” that caused the tech conglomerate to change course.

Apple brought on a number of engineers with a variety of expertise in order to control all aspects of production, including ones with car design and manufacturing experience, as well as others who work with the software that could eventually run the vehicle.

The tech giant even explored the prospect of employing spherical wheels, rather than the traditional tire-shape, to decipher if cars could increase its lateral maneuvering, reports TheNYT.

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.

So it now seems the company is focusing on just the autonomous technology that will help vehicles operate (for the most part) on their own. (RELATED: Apple In Discussion With Luxury Car Company, Because It Likely Feels Left Out Of The Vehicle Industry)

Apple CEO Tim Cook finally revealed some aspects in June about the company’s elusive initiative, but limited the specifics to “autonomous systems.”

“Autonomy is something that’s incredibly exciting for us. And uh, we’ll see where it takes us. We are not really saying in a product point of view what we will do. But we are being straightforward that it’s a core technology that we view as very important,” Cook said during an interview with Bloomberg at the time. “We sort of see it as the mother of all AI [artificial intelligence] projects. It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on.” (RELATED: Study: People Will Spend A Lot Of Extra Money For Their Car To Drive Itself)

Due to the NYT report, those comments are now even more telling, as Apple’s ostensible plans of creating its own marketable autonomous cars were likely dwindling for some time.

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