The initiative is now prioritizing the development of an autonomous driving system, though it’s not abandoning efforts to design its own vehicle. That leaves options open should the company eventually decide to partner with or acquire an established car maker, rather than build a car itself.
Apple is said to have hundreds of engineers working on car design with a target release date as early as 2020. The goal has allegedly been affected by technical delays, employee departures, and poor focus. Recently, it was reported that the target date had slipped to 2021.
As Apple works towards a vehicle, its R&D spending has jumped, reaching $2.6 billion last quarter. “The products that are in R&D, there is quite a bit of investment in there for products and services that are not currently shipping or derivations of what is currently shipping,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook during Tuesday's earnings call. “There’s a lot of stuff that we’re doing beyond the current products.”
Mansfield reports directly to Tim Cook. His division consists of three pillars: a software team under John Wright; a sensors group headed by Benjamin Lyon; and a unit of hardware engineers led by D.J. Novotney.
Earlier this year Dan Dodge, founder of QNX, joined Apple as part of the car team and Apple is planning to open a R&D center near QNX's headquarters in Canada. The office could give the company better access to the area's automotive software talent.
Other recent hires include two Ford engineers Todd Gray and Aindrea Campbell who specialized in building aluminum bodied vehicles.
More details in the full report linked below...