Porsche’s VP of Chassis Development, Dr. Manfred Harrer, looks to be heading to Apple in a sign of intent for the Apple Car and ‘Project Titan’. 9to5Mac picked up on the rumors, first published by Insider Deutschland.

If there was any doubt Apple fully intends to turn its Project Titan ambitions into a viable vehicle in the future, hiring a senior official responsible for car body development from a respected brand should stoke those concerns. Dr. Harrer has more than a decade of experience at Porsche, most recently adding the Cayenne series to his plate at the company, and his chassis development leadership dates back to 2016. Insider Deutschland says Porsche, Apple, and Dr. Harrer declined to comment on the report. Hyundai, on the other hand, has been making headlines over what its willing to say about Apple and the car rumors. Earlier this month, Hyundai stated on the record that it was in early discussions with Apple about producing its car. For the uninitiated, this is a solid way to guarantee that you are no longer in talks with Apple to produce its car. Nevertheless, additional reporting added that the two companies could reach a deal by March with a goal of vehicle production by 2024.

Check It Out: Porsche’s VP of Chassis Development Heading to Apple Car ‘Project Titan’

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. wab95

    Greetings, Charlotte.

    Cudaboy, you’re still alive!

    First, I’m delighted that, not only are you still around, but that you’ve made money off of Tesla, because, insofar as their cars are concerned, neither Tesla nor Elon Musk have https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/31/investing/tesla-profitability/index.html. Good on you, brother.

    I seldom quote Deadpool, but for you, it’s appropriate; seriously, ‘pump the hate brakes’; you may have woefully misread what Apple may be up to, and have instead brought chequers to a chess tournament. There are many reasons why Apple may not have yet produced a car, but ineptitude or lack of capacity are not among them. Indeed, before we convict Apple of failure to deliver, we might want to remind ourselves that Apple have yet to even publicly announce that they plan to release a car. So, where exactly is that missed deadline?

    That said, observers and pundits alike tend toward the concrete when it comes to Apple’s product line, and what Apple might be up to. For instance, when Apple declared that that iPad was the future of computing, Tweeters and YouTubers poured hot scorn over the capabilities of the iPad and assumed that Apple were talking about the literal device, and were beside themselves with predictions about Apple abandoning the Mac, reading tea leaves so abstruse as to make even the most ardent QAnoner seem rational. Rather, in the years since those adverts and that statement, we have only seen evidence that Apple were referring to the iPad as a testbed of technologies leveraged to advance the Apple platform, being the only hardware capable of supporting all forms of interface input, including touch, type, voice, face and stylus. Indeed, in Walter Isaacson’s SJ bio, we discover that the first innovation from the iPad was the iPhone; that SJ wanted to make a tablet, but not being satisfied with its state of consumer-readiness, moved to the simpler spinoff of the iPhone, taking another 3 years to get the tablet just right. Since the iPad’s release, other implementations have been modifications to macOS and the greater harmonisation of the operating system design and functions across devices, adaptive screen technologies, SOC with its onboard ML neural engine and now LiDAR, to name but a few. Apple are clearly using the only device capable of universal input for developing technologies, like SOC cum M1 chipsets, for rollout to other parts of their platform. Whatever comes of the actual device called the iPad, it has already left an indelible mark and pushed the platform forward. Apple were not wrong. We were.

    Regarding the Apple Car, true, Elon Musk fielded a product well before Apple; specifically an electric car with autopilot capabilities; as have now BMW, Jaguar, Chevrolet and so many others. And, because all of those others fielded an electric car with limited autopilot capability, pundits have assumed that Apple were in the same game. Chequers. Apple turning down the opportunity to buy Tesla, at Musk’s offer no less, was the most telling sign that they were not even in that game. What Tesla, and every other manufacturer to date, have done is to tweak the 20th Century automobile paradigm with an electric motor, itself based on extant 20th Century technologies, together with camera and sensors and put it out on the market. This is akin to the first automobiles that took the horse buggy as a model, stuck a combustion engine in it, and put it on the road. Countless deaths, injuries and property damage later, due to the incompatible marriage of a new power train with an old carriage, the industry got serious about developing modern and safer auto-motive technologies. Not only are modern offerings in electric and ‘driverless’ cars limited, and not simply due to their non-future proofed solutions in battery and autopilot tech, they are an inadequate and woefully incomplete solution to the problem of human ground transport. Apple are not about putting a (me-too) product on the market, they are about solving problems, beginning with challenging old assumptions and developing whole new technologies to address those problems.

    To do so, we already have seen publicised solutions to key problems associated with smart cars. First, power efficiency and therefore range. Rather than, as Tesla have, rely on multiple lithium ion batteries, Apple have reportedly developed a unique monocellular battery, described as ‘revolutionary’ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-apple-autos-exclusive/exclusive-apple-targets-car-production-by-2024-and-eyes-next-level-battery-technology-sources-idUSKBN28V2PY , and interestingly, a technology that Elon Musk dismissed as out of reach. Beyond that, like NASA for their upcoming robotic missions, Apple are reported to be relying, not on cameras like Tesla, but on multiple LiDAR scanners as part of their solution for an autopilot (same Reuters article cited above), which by the way, made its debut where? The 2020 iPad Pro (what was that about the future of computing, again?). As for software, anyone who thinks that CarPlay is simply about entertainment should think again; it also hosts navigational capabilities. Apple have been thinking about auto navigation for some time, but onboard instruction sets with nested adaptive machine learning capability are what SOC was made for, and is being minted by Apple (beginning with what product again, oh yes, the iPad although rolled out first in the iPhone as a consumer product). This will make for a truly smart and adaptive autopilot brain, with zero latency for onboard execution. The car will require security; Apple has Secure Enclave, which can service touch and face recognition input (perhaps voice in near term?). All of these systems will require state of the art hardening, so as to prevent bad guys from turning consumer transport into weapons of mass destruction, and this may be work still underway at Apple, but many of the security aids are in place. Oh, and 5G capability (or its replacement), evident on new Apple consumer devices. Apple have been moving the requisite pieces into position as mature technologies that will also be essential for a secure automobile solutions for years. In plain sight. The long game. Chess. Not chequers. Naysayers never see the forest for the trees.

    A total solution, however, will not simply be a smart car, however future proofed (which neither the Tesla nor any of the current other offerings appear to be as yet), but will ultimately require three components: smart adaptive autopilot (with onboard security systems to PREVENT human override), smart roads (current roads are inert) that can converse with the car’s onboard AI, and a traffic controller (a central AI) to coordinate and regulate traffic flow, serviced by 5G or superior technology with minimal latency.

    Two of these essential elements of a whole solution are not under active development anywhere, meaning that Apple have time, by the boatloads. Even if Apple never fields a consumer product as a car, they have developed, innovated and incorporated many of these as consumer-ready technologies into their platform, which could interface with third party products, and these are well positioned to contribute to those aims of problem solving for ground transport. Either way, not unlike the iPad, Apple will not field a product until it is both truly consumer-ready and solves real problems and, in turn, will carry the industry forward.

    Cheers.

    • Lee Dronick

      “we might want to remind ourselves that Apple have yet to even publicly announce that they plan to release a car. So, where exactly is that missed deadline?”

      Exactly!

      “A total solution, however, will not simply be a smart car, however future proofed (which neither the Tesla nor any of the current other offerings appear to be as yet), but will ultimately require three components: smart adaptive autopilot (with onboard security systems to PREVENT human override), smart roads (current roads are inert) that can converse with the car’s onboard AI, and a traffic controller (a central AI) to coordinate and regulate traffic flow, serviced by 5G or superior technology with minimal latency.”

      Last September I bought a new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, with a solar panel roof. It has a lot of high tech features including lane keeping where the forward facing cameras will auto-steer to keep the vehicle between the lines. It has some other nice features as well that I see as where autos are “going”.

  2. Lee Dronick

    “I called BS on Titan 2+ years ago ”

    And it has been that long since I have seen you comment

    “Flash, we miss you”

    I don’t

    “Sorry, but you can’t talk about three years from now – you already lost ”

    Apple plays the long game.

  3. CudaBoy

    I called BS on Titan 2+ years ago and NOW it’s still 3 years off??? It better come out the door with a cheap price and at least 400 mile real range and full autonomy because ALL that will be the minimum to compete THREE YEARS from now. So pathetically funny Apple’s hubris. Can you imagine the MESS of car Apple would make? Hinges that don’t work, indeed crash the screens, updates and bug fixes weekly, personal data breeches, open source code (Flash, we miss you and Adobe’s complete control of same) on and on. The future for cars will be in the software – wtf has Apple ever done besides iOS which has to be patched daily? That routine would not work for a car when your life is on the line. Sorry, but you can’t talk about three years from now – you already lost – so Titan is still a funny joke to me. I’ll take anybody’s money (since I made a fortune with TSLA after Roadster ride 10 years ago) if they want to make a bet there will/won’t be an Apple car – PERIOD. 🎤

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