A report from Reuters says that Apple’s Project Titan could be about the company creating a sensor stack, instead of a full autonomous vehicle.
Project Titan Sensors
Sources said Apple has had talks with at least four companies as possible suppliers for next-generation LIDAR sensors. Apple wants sensors that are smaller, cheaper, and more easily mass produced than current sensors.
Current LIDAR sensors use pulses of laser light to create accurate images of the environment around the car. But they can cost up to US$100,000 and use moving parts to scan the environment.
But what is clear from Apple’s interest in cheaper lidar systems is that it wants to control the “perception stack” of sensors, computers and software to drive an autonomous vehicle, regardless of who makes the vehicle, another person familiar with the talks said. The three people familiar with the talks declined to be identified because the discussions are not public.
Two people also said Apple is developing its own sensor, in addition to looking for outside suppliers. Apple is looking at sensor designs that could potentially be mass produced with regular semiconductor manufacturing techniques. The company also wants sensors that can scan several hundred yards down the road.