Updated: Feb 24
According to a Reuters article on December 21st, Apple’s autonomous car plans codenamed ‘Project Titan’ are still being worked on and it is looking to start manufacturing autonomous electric cars perhaps as soon as 2024. This will put the consumer electronics supplier firmly on track to compete with the likes of Tesla and the rest of the automotive industry which is scrambling to gain a foothold in the space. Whilst Apple has made few if any official statements about Titan, even though it has been rumoured to have been formed as long as 2014, the news is a little surprising given its apparent ups and downs over the last few years. The latest news before the Reuters article in December focused on how the project was being downsized with the loss of almost 200 staff in September 2019. As far as technology goes the article mentions a unique ‘mono-cell’ battery technology which a different chemistry to today’s EV (Electric Vehicle) batteries which should lead to a longer range as well as increased safety. Even if they do not make a fully Apple branded car the rumours suggest that at the very least, they will release an autonomous driving software program which can then be sold to car manufacturers. As usual, Apple have made no official statements about Project Titan but Korean car manufacturer Hyundai mentioned that they were working with Apple on an electric car in a press release a few days ago before quickly retrenching and saying that they were simply working with ‘various partners’ on EV’s and, removing any specific mention of Apple. Entering the auto-market is notoriously difficult due to the very expensive R&D and Capital Expenditure requirements, but with the ability to generate over $75 billion in free cash flow every year Apple is one of the few companies in the world that can afford to make the investment without hurting their core business.