A new report has detailed Apple’s crumbling ambitions to build a futuristic car, which have resulted in little more than a partnership with Volkswagen to make autonomous shuttles for the Apple campus.
The New York Times piece presents the news that Apple (aapl) had been working with Volkswagen (vlkay) (whose codename at Apple is apparently “Jetstream”) since late 2017. The companies were apparently planning to have their shuttle ready by the end of this year, “but that deadline will be missed.”
The shuttle will reportedly use the chassis, frame and wheels of Volkswagen’s T6 vans, filled with Apple’s battery, sensors, seats, dashboard and other components.
Apple used to want to build its own cars, and built a team of over 1,000 people to do so. When that proved too tricky, it tried to set up a partnership with a luxury car brand such as BMW and Mercedes, but they reportedly didn’t like Apple’s desire to control cars’ data and design.
According to the Times sources, Apple no longer has any commercial plans to build a car, beyond the electric shuttles it’s developing with Volkswagen—a far cry from the holographic windshield displays and living-room-like interiors that its consumer cars were supposed to have.
Of course, that’s not to say Apple won’t end up building and selling an autonomous car. But for now, it seems its ambitions are far reduced, and its technology is at risk of falling behind that of its rivals.
Neither Apple nor Volkswagen had responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.