Apple Car Had Xbox-Like Controller As Backup Control: Bloomberg

Estimated read time 2 min read
  • Apple’s most advanced backup control for a car prototype looked like an Xbox controller, per Bloomberg.
  • CEO Tim Cook tested this prototype in 2020, and he and other execs were impressed, per the outlet.
  • But Apple shut down its secret, self-driving electric vehicle project on February 28.

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Apple’s now-failed self-driving car at one point featured a backup control system that resembled a video game controller instead of a steering wheel, per Bloomberg.

The controller, part of a prototype that CEO Tim Cook tested in 2020, was akin to “the controller that comes with an Xbox,” wrote Bloomberg reporters Mark Gurman and David Bennett.

This prototype was called the “Bread Loaf” by employees for its minivan shape, and the controller was its most fully developed backup control system, the outlet reported.

Apple bosses wanted the car to be fully autonomous, so the controller was for situations when the vehicle got stuck in situations that were particularly difficult to navigate, Bloomberg reported.

It’s unclear whether this version of the Apple car would have shipped. The tech giant ditched its plans for the ambitious EV on February 27, after almost 10 years of work under a secretive “Project Titan.”

Bloomberg’s in-depth feature on the project detailed how the team cycled through various designs, including one after the “Bread Loaf” that was internally called the “I-Beam.”

The “Bread Loaf,” however, deeply impressed Cook and other Apple executives, who after trying out the car wanted it to to have the most sophisticated self-driving software possible — tech that Apple engineers weren’t confident they could achieve at the time, per Bloomberg.

The company changed tack at least once on this strategy, opting to move toward Level 2 autonomous driving in January, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel temporarily.

That’s a far cry from Apple’s original ambition for its car. The firm hoped that the EV would navigate independently without the need for any human input, or what’s known as Level 5, per Bloomberg.

The outlet reported that Apple spent roughly $1 billion on the project annually.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment sent outside regular business hours by Business Insider.