Another day, another Project Titan rumor. The rumor du jour describes Apple Inc. being in discussions with multiple suppliers of self-driving car sensors known as LiDAR, a key milestone toward the development of its first passenger vehicle.
"Apple is reportedly in active talks with a number of potential suppliers for these laser-based sensors that allow a car’s computer to 'see' its surroundings," according Bloomberg sources. Our cover graphic illustrates sensors including LiDAR used on autonomous vehicles.
"Apple has been working on a driverless vehicle project known as Project Titan for several years and has developed on its own most of the necessary software, underlying processors and artificial intelligence algorithms needed for such a sophisticated system," – that could in part be reviewed in Apple's Project Titan patents.
Bloomberg's report further notes that "As it’s done with the iPhone, Apple is looking to outside vendors to supply critical hardware for a planned autonomous vehicle, the people said. The ongoing discussions are a sign that Apple has yet to settle on a preferred supplier for LiDAR and that it’s likely mulling a range of options, including a heavily customized version of the sensors, as it moves toward developing a car design. That’s an indication that a finished product is still several years away.
The iPhone maker has a team of car interior, body, drivetrain and battery experts working toward eventually launching a car. Inside the company, staff believe that such a launch is at least five years away. For more on this story read the full Bloomberg report.
To be sure, the Project Titan storyline will continue to generate a steady stream of rumor reports for many years to come, so take it all in stride. At this point in time rumors like this one are little more than water cooler talk, as the randomness of the information in the big picture is irrelevant at this point in time.
Apple's various R&D teams will continually work on various parts of this major project and file patents on various key, if not game-changing components, working towards a final vehicle that is far too early to forecast in terms of time to market.