Apple Pumps the Brakes on Self-Driving Cars

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PAIL is the name of the new project that represents Palo Alto to Infinite Loop which happens to be the address of Apple's main offices.

The project's reduced scale aligns more closely with other tech companies that are working on autonomous driving but are steering clear of building cars. Reports earlier in the year suggested Apple had realized the scale of the challenge it was facing, were it to try to develop its own vehicle from scratch, with leaks earlier in the week indicating a "more modest" plan was now underway.

PAIL, which isn't up and running yet, will likely be a commercial vehicle from another auto manufacturer and will be used to test Apple's self-driving technology.

Under the leadership of veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield and with the vision of Apple's chief design officer Jony Ive, the iCar sounds like it was going to be awesome.

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Apple's driverless vehicle project, long-rumoured and only recently confirmed by boss Tim Cook, looks like it might be taking a back seat at the company. To that end, Apple has recently obtained a self-driving auto testing permit from California, with CEO Tim Cook publicly stating that the company is working on autonomous systems.

Apple scaling back its plans to build self-driving cars, focusing instead on the software and technology for autonomous vehicles, according to a New York Times report late Tuesday. The shuttle will be used as a form of testing for Apple and will match what other companies, including Waymo and Cruise, have done to test and flawless their technologies. "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. Team members complained of shifting priorities and arbitrary or unrealistic deadlines.

Steve Zadesky, an executive who was initially in charge of Titan, wanted to pursue the semiautonomous option. Apple's recruitment of Dan Dodge, the founder of QNX, Blackberry's (formerly RIM) automotive software division marks a shift in emphasis toward creating software for autonomous vehicles.

According to the source that Business Insider spoke with, Apple is creating its autonomous systems with an eye to the ride-sharing and ride-hailing market but that Apple has no plans at this point to go it alone and try to become the next Uber. There was fierce debate about whether it should be programmed using Swift, Apple's own programming language, or the industry standard, C++. What we didn't know were many specifics about what Apple thought it could do if it did build a auto.