Project Titan, Apple's effort to enter the autonomous vehicle segment, seems to be alive, as the company is said have evaluated lidar units made by third parties.
Reuters reports that Apple has held talks with at least four companies as possible suppliers for next-generation lidar sensors in self-driving cars, while also still working on its own lidar unit.
Lidars are a sensor that provide typically uses light pulses to render precise images of the environment around the car. Apple is currently using lidar $100,000 units from Velodyne for its fleet of self-driving test vehicles.
But the company is seeking lidar units that would be smaller, cheaper, offer a larger scanning range and be more easily mass produced than current technology, according to the report.
It remains unclear whether the goal of Apple’s Project Titan is to build its own vehicle or supply the hardware and software elements of self-driving car while pairing with a partner for the entire vehicle.
Alphabet-owned Waymo is assembling a sensor and computer system while inking deals to buy vehicles from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Apple declined to comment.
Apple last year re-hired Doug Field, an Apple veteran who was serving as Tesla’s engineering chief, to work on Project Titan. The project has about 1,200 people, according to a count in court documents. Field hireed Michael Schwekutsch, who oversaw electric drive train technology at Telsa. Apple also ramped up its testing miles in California, driving nearly 80,000 last year compared to 800 the year before.