Google is again struggling in its projects for the Apple-branded or co-branded vehicles. The question to be asked is this: Is the car ‘disrupting’ Silicon Valley or is Silicon Valley ‘disrupting’ the car industry? It might indeed be the former as Apple has lost hundreds of staff from Project Titan, its car initiative.
This ailing auto project has struggled for over two years now. Two rounds of layoffs on the project resulted in redundancies and reallocations running into the hundreds. A final decision has yet to be made on what to do with it. Hardware engineers working on suspensions, undercarriages and car chassis were moved on (or out) in addition to working on an Apple OS for cars. Now after these cuts have been made the project is left with about 1,000 staff.
Google’s self-driving clown car (possible not the best choice of character given the recent sinister attention clowns have been getting) has fallen behind its less ambitious rivals and Google, let’s not forget, had a four year head start over Apple. Have they been overambitious in their quest to completely eliminate humans producing an autonomous ride? Was this realistic?
It is hard to see what Silicon Valley companies can add to this mass market, even taking into account the achievements with Tesla. When it comes to the key factors that car buyers look for such as reliability, comfort and performance traditional car manufacturers have the advantage.
It’s rather arrogant of Silicon Valley to assume that a chip being placed into something will automatically turn it into something all conquering. Of course these new technologies may still disrupt road freight in a significant way but it remains to be seen whether Google or Apple will succeed.