Apple switches Project Titan focus from hardware to software

Rumoured deal

Apple has hired another specialist to work on its autonomous car project - former BlackBerry executive, Dan Dodge - as it plans to switch from driverless car hardware to focus on the software.

Dodge joined the Project Titan team earlier this year, according toBloomberg, after leaving BlackBerry in December 2015.

Dodge joined BlackBerry in 2010 when it acquired his own company, QNX Software, which provided software for air traffic control, nuclear power plants and automatives, and he headed up this division until he left the phone maker.

Apple has long been rumoured to be building a self-driving car to take on the likes of Google, and allegedly had hundreds of engineers working to design the vehicle.

It is now reported that Project Titan, as the initiative is known, has become a software-focused project to create an autonomous driving system, rather than a hardware-focused one to build an actual car, however.

This has been caused partly by the departure of many of the engineers and partly as the result of a strategic decision to leave the door open to partnering with or acquiring an existing manufacturer, according toBloomberg.

IT Procontacted Apple for comment on the rumours, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Although the Cupertino-based company has always refused to confirm or deny the existence of Project Titan, the rumour is strong. Tesla CEO Elon Musk in January said that it is an "open secret" in Silicon Valley that Apple is working on a self-driving car project. Ford's CEO has also said it is a "working assumption" at his company that Apple is working on a self-driving car.

Before anyone gets too excited, though, it is unlikely an Apple Car - or related project - will make an appearance at this year's September Special Event alongside the rumoured iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2, as the company is apparently working towards a 2020 launch date.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's Managing Editor, specializing in data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Managing Editor, she held the role of Deputy Editor and, prior to that, Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.