Apple car in jeopardy? Top executive's move to Ford raises questions aplenty

Doug Field had been helping Apple with its efforts towards developing a self-drive car since he moved here from Tesla back in 2018. The head of Apple's car project recently called it quits to join Ford Motor Company, leading many to question the fate and future of an Apple project that most agree is big but risky as well.

File photo used for representational purpose. (Photo courtesy: YouTube)
File photo used for representational purpose. (Photo courtesy: YouTube)

Field parted ways with Apple on Tuesday and will now join Ford as Chief Advanced Technology Officer, as per reports. Shortly after a formal announcement was made, many began wondering the kind of progress - if any - that Apple has made with its Project Titan. Project Titan is the codename for the Apple electric car project, one that is mighty ambitious but one that may not be an easy walk in the park.

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Apple almost always has all of its product-related plans, research and development works as a closely-guarded secret. But it is no real secret that it has been looking at partnering with a number of other companies to develop its first car and the battery system that could power it. Rumours as recent as late last week suggested that Apple officials were looking at talks with counterparts from Toyota for a possible partnership for battery development. Reports have also suggested talks with LG Chem may be in the offing. And previously, Hyundai had confirmed it is in talks with Apple but nothing much came of it.

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Self-drive cars are an astoundingly ambitious task. Players like Tesla, Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and Uber Technologies have found the going touch. For its part, Apple began with the work in around 2014 but in the nearly seven years since, progress has been at a snail's pace. Several reports suggest that Field may have given a sense of direction and hastened the pace when he joined in 2018 but with his exit, it could well be another brick in the wall for the world leader in consumer electronics.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

First Published Date: 08 Sep 2021, 08:56 AM IST
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