A buzz, emanated by many fans and opposers, travelled around the globe when Uber’s self-driving SUV struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona on Sunday night. Died later, due to severe injuries, was Elaine Herzberg (49 years old) walking her bicycle across the road when Uber’s autonomous chauffeur accidentally hit her.
This fatality raised serious concerns related to test-drive campaigns in many peers on the move. Uber and Toyota had halted the testing of their autonomous cars on public roads last week whereas two other knights in the field, Ford Motor and General Motor, are still continuing with it.
Next, we have Waymo, subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. and Lyft, Uber’s chief rival in the ride-sharing battlefield, who refused to comment on their testing status this Tuesday.
But then comes swaying the terror, Apple’s “Project Titan”, which on Thursday filed another patent strengthening its roots in Self-Navigation industry. Just so you know, this is not the first time Apple is patenting its know-hows in “autonomous navigation” (another recent patent was published by USPTO in December on same tech by same firm).
For those a few who’re still unaware of the term Project Titan: Apple’s electric car project or iCar is code-named “Titan”. According to a Wall Street Journal, “several hundreds” of Apple employees were made a part of this project.
Initially, Titan was pictured to become an absolute rival of Tesla as the company was rumored to work on electric cars. It was only after an interview with the CEO, Tim Cook, in 2017 when a few insights on changed direction of the project and inclination towards autonomous systems were received.
Not just this, leaving behind the number of permits that Waymo and Uber has, this giant is, yet again, planning to own a new potential market. On the basis of the figures provided by Department of Motor Vehicles in California, Apple’s “Titan” owns the permit to test a total of 45 autonomous vehicles on public roads in its home state which was 27, this January, and mere 3, an year ago. Way to go, Titan.
Also, before you lift your dropped jaw up, the number of permits owned by Tesla Motors and Uber are 39 and 29, respectively. And surpassing Apple is our pioneer in the domain — General Motors’ Cruise Company, with 110 self-driving car permits in California.
Wait, wai..! One more to the Jaw dropping league — Alphabet’s Waymo had 100 permits till June 2017 but, according to the recent updates, has 24 now.