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Report: Apple Scales Back and Delays Plans for Self-Driving Vehicle

Apple

Apple has reportedly scaled back and delayed its plans to develop a vehicle.

After initially aiming for a fully autonomous vehicle, the company has scaled back its ambitions and is now focusing on an electric vehicle (EV) with more limited features, including more basic driver-assistance features, Bloomberg reported Tuesday (Jan. 23), citing unnamed sources.

However, the project has encountered numerous setbacks, resulting in a projected release date of 2028, two years later than previously anticipated, according to the report. 

Apple did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

Since the beginning of the company’s car project in 2014, the complexity of building a car from scratch has led to management changes, layoffs and strategy shifts for the venture, according to the report.

The endeavor is also one of the company’s most expensive research and development (R&D) endeavors, the report said.

Despite these challenges, Apple sees the car as a potential game-changer that could reinvigorate its sales growth and diversify its product lineup, as revenue has stalled in recent years due to a maturing smartphone industry and a slowdown of sales in China, per the report.

While some Apple executives remain skeptical about the profitability of a car, the company views it as an opportunity to enter the thriving EV sector, according to the report.

The company’s tech peers like Amazon, Alphabet, Huawei and Xiaomi have already made significant strides in that sector, the report said.

To differentiate its vehicle, Apple plans to offer a sleek design, advanced safety systems and a unique user interface, per the report. Apple has been engaging with potential manufacturing partners in Europe to discuss its new approach.

In another recent development in this space, Alphabet subsidiary Waymo and a partner, ride-hailing platform Uber, said in October that they had launched fully autonomous rides available to Uber customers in Phoenix.

Customers who request a ride on the app may have the opportunity to experience Waymo Driver self-driving car technology, which means there will be no human driver behind the wheel.

Amazon said Wednesday (Jan. 17) that it is expanding its $1 billion Industrial Innovation Fund to invest in transportation, including autonomous vehicles and last-mile technology.