Apple Developing Self-Driving Campus Shuttle Service as Part of Scaled Back Car Effort

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple is planning to develop a self-driving shuttle service that will transport Apple employees from one building to another as part of its autonomous vehicle efforts, reports The New York Times in a piece that explores why Apple scaled back its car ambitions.

    Apple's "open secret" car project shifted focus from a full autonomous vehicle to an autonomous driving system last year, and to test that system, Apple will reportedly use employee shuttles.

    [​IMG]
    One of the Lexus SUVs Apple is currently using to test its autonomous driving software​

    Called "PAIL," an acronym for "Palo Alto to Infinite Loop," the shuttle program will transport employees between Apple's myriad offices in Silicon Valley. Apple is said to be planning to use a commercial vehicle "from an automaker" paired with its own autonomous driving technology for the shuttles.

    Five Apple employees familiar with Apple's car project spoke to The New York Times about the shuttle program and also shared some details about the technologies Apple explored before the project was downscaled from car to software.

    When Apple first started exploring car technology under the "Project Titan" name, it hired hundreds of people with expertise in everything from automation to car manufacturing. The team explored a wide range of technologies, including silent motorized doors, car interiors sans steering wheel or gas pedals, augmented reality displays, an improved LIDAR sensor that protrudes less from the top of a car, and spherical wheels.
    As has been previously reported, Apple's car project suffered from delays, internal strife, and leadership issues. According to the people who spoke to The New York Times, there was no clear vision for the Apple Car and there were internal disagreements over whether Apple should pursue an autonomous vehicle or a semiautonomous vehicle and what language should be used for the CarOS software (Swift or C++).

    Steve Zadesky, who initially led Project Titan but stepped down in early 2016, pushed for a semiautonomous vehicle, while Jony Ive's industrial design team wanted an autonomous vehicle that would "allow the company to reimagine the automobile experience."

    Bob Mansfield took over the car project in mid-2016, and the project shifted from vehicle to software. Many members of the hardware team were laid off, but morale is said to have improved under his leadership now that Apple has a clear focus on an autonomous driving system.

    Apple is now far enough along in its software development that the company is testing it in several 2015 Lexus RX450h vehicles equipped with a host of sensors and cameras. The vehicles have been out on the roads in the Cupertino area since April. It's not yet clear when Apple plans to expand that testing to encompass the campus shuttles.

    Back in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke publicly about Apple's work on autonomous driving software in a rare candid moment. "We're focusing on autonomous systems. It's a core technology that we view as very important," he said. "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on."

    Article Link: Apple Developing Self-Driving Campus Shuttle Service as Part of Scaled Back Car Effort
     
  2. TheTruth101 Suspended

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    #2
    What would happen when reach 88 miles per hour?
     
  3. dragoon2745 macrumors newbie

    dragoon2745

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    What do they mean "allow for better lateral movements"? Like to turn left you just push to the left of the sphere?
     
  4. Jared Strike macrumors regular

    Jared Strike

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    #4
    Well that's a little anticlimactic lol
     
  5. brendu macrumors 68020

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    #5
    No. Not the steering wheel. The 4 wheels of the car would have been spheres and would allow the car to go sideways. That would make parallel parking a breeze.
     
  6. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #6
    Everyone gets an Apple II
     
  7. dragoon2745 macrumors newbie

    dragoon2745

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    #7
    Ahhh yeah I read that way wrong. Thank you for clarifying.
     
  8. Appleaker macrumors 68020

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    #8
    It would have been exciting to see the designs they had in mind as well as physical models.
    Nevertheless it'll be interesting to see the final implementation with this "commercial vehicle" "from an automaker".
     
  9. BaltimoreMediaBlog macrumors 6502a

    BaltimoreMediaBlog

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    #9
    I want to see Timmy take the first test ride on video like he's riding his toy train. :D
     
  10. MNJohn, Aug 22, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017

    MNJohn macrumors regular

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    #10
    Behind Tesla, Mercedes, rest of the world much? What a joke of a program...
     
  11. ILikeAllOS macrumors 6502

    ILikeAllOS

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    Not gonna lie, ball shaped wheels sounds awesome...
     
  12. mistasopz macrumors 6502

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    #12

    PAIL? More like FAIL. We all saw how Apple Maps turned out... I'm not getting within 100 feet of any Apple autonomous cars. They need to stick to improving macOS and making "pro" products again.
     
  13. LizKat macrumors 601

    LizKat

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    #13
    I like to see how it works steering out of encounter w/ black ice on a bridge...
     
  14. diegov12 macrumors member

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    #14
    This is such an informed comment, not…
     
  15. Defthand macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Kudos to Apple for taking a scaled-downed approach and avoiding the potential disappointment of another “not ready for primetime” product as happened with Maps and Siri. Joe Public still has reservations about the technology. Maybe if it proves reliable and likeable with commercial use vehicles first, the public will be more trusting.
     
  16. diegov12 macrumors member

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    #16
    I'd rather see them invest in other markets.
    Rather than focus on a small minority of "pro" users.
     
  17. Apple Corps macrumors 68030

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    #17
    How many billions of dollars have or will be wasted on this crap? So this is some of Timmy's "Magical Pipeline'? As the years roll on it looks like his pipeline is filled with garbage and hot air.
     
  18. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #18
    Care to explain? Mercedes has had self driving electric cars driving around the Stuttgart burbs for a couple of years now
     
  19. citysnaps macrumors 601

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    #19
    Behind Erickson, Motorola, Siemens, Sony, Alcatel, Nokia, rest of the world much? What a joke of a cellular phone program...
     
  20. Analog Kid macrumors 601

    Analog Kid

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    Want to know how much confidence Apple has in their tech? Check if they let executives use the shuttle...
     
  21. macduke macrumors G3

    macduke

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    #21
    Leave it to Apple to try something as absurd as reinventing the wheel. I love it. Too bad it didn’t pan out. Maybe someday!
     
  22. busyscott macrumors regular

    busyscott

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    #22
    Yikes! Sounds like the project got away from them. Perhaps they bit off a bit more than they could chew with this one?

    Either that or they knew they couldn't live up to the MASSIVE "Apple Car" hype, so they toss this article to the New York Times to burst the bubble of all us fanboys while secretly still working on it? Here's to hoping!
     
  23. citysnaps macrumors 601

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    #23
    Funny that people are expecting Apple to go public with their plans. And because they won't, assume that whatever it is they're working on is a failure.
     
  24. Rogifan, Aug 22, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017

    Rogifan macrumors Core

    Rogifan

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    #24
    This project is turning out to be a dud. Plus most automakers are working on their own technology so why would they need Apple’s? And I wonder how long these employees will be at Apple now that they’ve leaked to the NY Times.
     
  25. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

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    #25

    Spherical wheels would make lateral movement easier at 60 MPH as well.
     

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