The much-rumored Apple car hit a major roadblock when Steve Zadesky left the Cupertino company. In July, Apple brought in Bob Mansfield to head its car project. One of the first things that Mansfield did after taking over was to shift the focus from building a full-fledged car to developing the autonomous driving system. Even after that, the iPhone maker looks clueless about its car efforts.

Apple Car Concept
Image Credit: Automobile Italia/Flickr

Elon Musk was probably right when he called Apple car a ‘missed opportunity’

Three sources familiar with the matter told the New York Times that Apple is rethinking its self-driving car strategy as other tech companies are ready to race ahead with their self-driving car efforts. The tech giant has laid off dozens of employees and shut down parts of the car project as part of a “reboot.” It is yet another sign that Apple is struggling to make progress on the project despite hiring more than a thousand experts to work on the project.

It looks like Tim Cook & Co. have finally realized what Tesla founder Elon Musk has been saying for a long time. Musk has described the Apple car as an “open secret” and called it a “missed opportunity.” Apple car – an electric vehicle with self-driving capabilities – was rumored to arrive in 2021. But competing companies are planning to introduce their autonomous vehicles much sooner.

Can Apple car bring something unique to the market?

Tesla’s cars already come with an Autopilot feature. Google has been testing self-driving cars for years. Ford plans to launch a “fully autonomous car” in 2021. Uber, General Motors, Fiat and other companies are working on one or more self-driving cars each. On the other hand, Apple employees working on the car project have “struggled to explain” what the company could bring to an autonomous car that other companies could not.

However, the New York Times added that Apple had made some headway on the project. It currently has many “fully autonomous vehicles in the middle of testing.” They are being tested in a closed environment. But the technology is still years away from mainstream use.

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