Rumours about an “Apple Car” have been floating around for years now. Even today, if one were to google the words, you’d see horrendous renders like this.
While the idea does sound rather hilarious, Apple seems to be working on Project Titan for quite a while now. The rumour train had seen a set back lately but according to a recent report by Reuters, we’re back on the edge of our seats.
According to the report, Apple is contacting and devising plans with potential LiDAR suppliers. Yes, that’s right! Apple is clearly developing something (ahem Apple car probably ahem ahem). To understand the enthusiasm in the previous statement, one needs to know what LiDAR is. LiDAR is a detection system which uses lasers and the principle of radars. Meanwhile, in the case of vehicles, LiDARs are used to aid autonomous driving. This is the same kind of sensor system seen on Google’s self-driving vehicles.
Coming back to Apple. Apple’s goal is to mass produce these devices at a cheaper rate (Apple aiming at cheaper devices!). In the process, it is perhaps their vision to make the sensor smaller and more convenient. But one may wonder, what is Apple’s final goal here.
It is still unclear where Apple plans to go with Project Titan. While some reports may suggest an automotive product by the Cupertino giant, my money is on autonomous software for existing and future cars. This makes sense too, given that with companies like Tesla leading the market, it would be difficult for even Apple to penetrate it. Another sign pointing to this direction is the fact that Apple is testing out its software in Cupertino, on Lexus SUVs.
Perhaps something that one cannot overlook is the issues with LiDAR technology itself. With the primitive technology that we have, LiDARs are still quite bulky and expensive (something Apple is trying to combat). Another issue is the reluctance in autonomous driving. Yes, we may be in a very advanced era where technology owns every aspect of life. But sadly, due to recent crashes in self-driving vehicles and the general public’s hesitance, it would be quite a while before autonomous cars would normalise.
Yes, there are a couple of issues surrounding the technology but one should not forget that this is Apple we’re talking about. Apple has taken strides no one could have predicted. Even now, as they work on 5nm chips, the world can just sit and wonder. While reports have surfaced about Apple’s action in LiDAR technology, the final product is still years from coming to the final consumer. In my opinion, it is still 3 to 5 years before we see it around us. Perhaps by then, we may have certain technological advancements that rectify some issues with the core sensor itself. Sadly though, we have a while to wait before we actually get to see it.