Apple's self-driving cars have an array of sensors that are largely located on the top of the vehicle. The spotted self-driving car was sporting its signature white plastic design like the one you often see on iPhones.
These self-driving cars have a similar sensor setup to Velodyne. However, Apple's version only covers 280 degrees, while Velodyne's sensors are set up to get a coverage of 360 degrees.
According to public data that can be accessed in California's DMV, Apple has been permitted to run three Lexus SUVs. The permission is largely for testing the company's self-driving hardware and software technology. According to a recent report by the New York Times, Apple has big plans for the use of self-driving shuttles. As of the moment, Apple is saying that their self-driving car is going to be used for internal company purposes, specifically transporting employees from building to building.
Apple started its self-driving car project back in 2016, codenamed Titan. To this day, Apple has not made any public statements regarding the company's official plan to enter the self-driving car industry or not.
While there are no official statements yet, it's been rumored that project Titan was approved in 2014 by Tim Cook, Apple's Chief Executive Officer. It's also been rumored that the project was assigned to Steve Zadesky, Apple's former vice president and a former engineer at Ford. In 2016, Steve Zadesky left Apple and the project for an undisclosed reason. Apple then hired Johann Jungwirth.
Johann Jungwirth has a decorated record within the automobile industry. At one point, he became Mercedes-Benz's chief executive for research and development for the North American region. He was also one of the leading experts for transmission engineering.
According to Mickey Drexler, an Apple board member, Steve Jobs had interest in designing and building self-driving cars. The first discussion about the project surfaced around the same time when Tesla introduced its first electric car. Tony Fadell, the former Senior VP of Apple iPod, confirmed that Steve Jobs was very interested in creating an Apple vehicle way back in 2008, just around the time when the first iPhone debuted.
There are rumors that Apple is offering large incentives to any Tesla employee who wants to switch sides to Apple. According to a report made by The Wall Street Journal, Apple's idea of a self-driving car would look like more of a minivan instead of a sedan. The Sydney Morning Herald made a report that it's possible that Apple may start production of its self-driving cars by 2020.
However, much of what we know about the project Titan is largely based on rumors. In fact, it's been rumored that the project had the goal to build self-driving cars, but switched gears to just focus on building self-driving technology.