According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple has completed “most of the essential work” on a new CPU that would power its secretive Titan autonomous electric car project. The achievement comes as Apple is said to be speeding up the development of its self-driving car, with a new goal of deploying it in just four years.
Apple’s own silicon team designed the chip, which Gurman says is the “most advanced component” that’s been developed for the project so far. The company is apparently getting ready to put the chip through its real-world paces in its fleet of test vehicles in California and hopes to make a vehicle with “stronger safeguards than what’s available from Tesla and Waymo,” according to the report.
After several pivots, Project Titan’s current goal is to develop an autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel. The inside would be roomy and resemble the limousine-style seating configuration proposed by EV startup Canoo in its electric van prototypes. As The Verge revealed earlier this year, Apple was in talks to buy Canoo at one time and just hired one of the startup’s co-founders. A huge, iPad-style touchscreen display with an iOS-like user interface would be included.
The business model is reportedly still undecided, though. Apple has considered trying to create a self-driving fleet to compete with Uber, Lyft, and Waymo (something Tesla has proposed but is still very far from executing), but Gurman reports that the “more likely scenario” is that Apple will sell the cars to individuals.
On the electric vehicle side of things, Apple is reportedly not looking to develop a proprietary charging cable for the car. Instead, it wants to make the vehicle compatible with the “combined charging system,” or CCS standard, which would make it possible to charge the vehicle at most public fast-charging stations.
All of this, of course, follows years of reported alterations to the project, which began in 2014. Since Apple Watch lead Kevin Lynch stepped over earlier this year, Project Titan has been led by five different executives. Bloomberg reports that the project’s refocused and timeframe have shifted. This may be a sign that actual progress is being made with him at the helm, or it could just be the latest footnote in whatever the project becomes next.