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Are the Wheels Coming Off Apple’s Driverless-Car Plans?


Thinks aren't going so smoothly in Apple's autonomous-vehicle team. In June, Tim Cook finally admitted that Apple was working on autonomous vehicles—something that had long been rumored. But the New York Times reports that an uncharacteristic lack of focus at the firm—including scraps over partial autonomy, premature redesigns of car interiors, and even spherical-wheel research—have distracted it from, well, getting a car to drive itself.

It's not the first time we've heard of wobbles emanating from Apple's self-driving-car team. Late last year, reports suggested that its automotive division had been scaled right back and given a firm deadline of the end of 2017 by which to make its ambitions of building robotic cars a viable option. To that end, it appears Apple has now decided to approach its goals with a little more focus. The Times reports that Apple is setting about testing driverless shuttles for staff that will run between Palo Alto and its new Infinite Loop HQ.

At this point, of course, it seems that Apple is rather late to this self-driving party. But as we've explained in the past, that won’t necessarily rule out success.