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In brief: If it feels like we've been writing about Apple's electric self-driving car, aka Project Titan, for years, that's because we have, since 2015, in fact (the design started in 2014). Almost a decade is a long time, but according to new reports, the vehicle's release date has been postponed to 2026, and it might not be self-driving.
Bloomberg writes that Apple has scaled back the self-driving plans for its future electric vehicle, which looked set to be fully autonomous with no steering wheel or pedals. The car was also supposed to feature inward-facing seats.
But creating a vehicle with full level 5 autonomy still presents too many technical, legal, and regulatory issues. As such, the Apple car's self-driving abilities will be scaled down. The EV will have a steering wheel, pedals, and conventional seats, and its fully autonomous capabilities will only be available while on highways. Users will be able to play games or watch videos in these instances, but they must take over driving duties when on city streets or in adverse weather conditions.
Apple hopes to launch these self-driving capabilities in North America first before they arrive in other locations over time. The company is also considering a remote command center to assist drivers and control the car remotely in emergencies. The iPhone maker may also offer its own insurance to buyers.
Apple had intended to sell its first vehicle for $120,000, but it is now aiming for around $100,000, which would put it up against the Tesla Model S. It's still looking for a partner for the project: the only serious talks it had was with Volkswagen many years ago.
It'll be a few years before we see the Apple car. Even the design isn't set to be finalized until next year, while its list of features should arrive in 2024. With testing scheduled to begin in 2025, we could be driving around in the iCar, or whatever Apple calls it, sometime during 2026.