The ambiguous Apple Car, a project that is not officially a project, has been delayed for another year. According to a report in The Information, the car project will now be delayed until 2021. While causation for the delay was not officially attributed — the entire project remains unofficial — is the problem at this stage about too much digital information in an information mad world?
Unofficial “Project Titan” delay causation officially unknown
Causation for the delay in “Project Titan,” as it is known, was not determined. The report only said that developers have “run into challenges” and are pushing back the launch date.
Over the past year, numerous reports have said that Apple could be working on an electronic, self-driving car. Apple CEO Tim Cook has been coy in the past about the existence of the project and, in a fashion consistent with other product launches, has only provided hints as to the status.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose electric cars would likely compete head-to-head with the Apple Car, has previously called the project the “worst-kept secret in Silicon Valley.” Numerous Apple Car engineers are said to have come from Tesla, leading Musk to derogatorily call Apple “Tesla’s Graveyard.”
Apple, Google and others compete in a world where the “Internet of things” will require a software company to coordinate the many varied life accessories. Phone, watch and television are the start with the home and car as major centerpieces.
Could the issue of data management be one of the reasons for the car’s delay?
Self driving cars use a tremendous amount of computer data
If one needs to recognize how data impacts project feasibility, consider just the car requirements. The data processing capabilities required is immense.
Data processing challenge on self-driving cars significant
A single self-driving vehicle can generate between 2 and 10 gigabytes of data for every mile driven, according to the CEO of DeepMap, a firm that specializing in mapping technology for self-driving systems.
Analysis from one industry expert is that self-driving cars could generate 750 megabytes of sensor data per second. This struggling sum coms as big data strategist Mark van Rijmenam raises the expectations bar. He said the technology will be so sophisticated it will identify mechanical issues and schedule a service call before parts break down.
It is amid this computer processing challenge that the rumored Apple Car will be up against.
Tesla “autonomous” car came under significant scrutiny recently. Nearly three weeks ago a Tesla autonomous driving vehicle crashed when its software failed to recognize a turning truck in front of it, killing the un-attendant driver and failing to slow before colliding with the truck.
Tesla, for its part, is reported to have off-loaded the task of heavy data management to Amazon Web Services. Apple, based on its corporate tradition, has typically preferred to manage its computer software and processing in-house for security reasons, managing product assembly through offshore vendors.
The trio of engineers who have been working on the project – brothers Brian, Devin and Michael Summer – were reported to be developing software to capture and manage the vast data required to operate an autonomous vehicle. This quest includes possibly shopping for additional server capability.
The first generation of the Apple Car may not even be self-driving but semi-autonomous at best. Further, automotive analysts have persistently questioned Apple’s ability to enter the car market.
“Apple has no experience,” former car executive Bob Lutz told Bob Lutz told CNBC in September. “There’s no reason to assume Apple will do a better job than General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota or Hyundai. I think this is going to be a gigantic money pit.”
He called the project a “gigantic money pit” for Apple.