Apple has long been known for marrying hardware and software to create tech products that bring delight to millions of people around the world, so when rumors started spreading nearly a decade ago that it, too, had decided to chase the elusive goal of developing an autonomous vehicle, it seemed the iPhone maker might have a good chance of accomplishing that goal. But in December, the company had some bad news: It has pushed its targeted launch date back once again, to 2026. We’ll see if it can even make that.
Since at least 2012, tech companies have been promising that self-driving cars would revolutionize our transport system, and yet not much has actually changed, nor does it appear set to change anytime soon. Uber pulled out in 2020, making a $400 million investment in Aurora Innovations to persuade the company to take Uber’s flailing self-driving division off its hands, while Argo AI, a respected autonomous driving startup backed by Ford and Volkswagen, shut down in October. Meanwhile, it’s been impossible to ignore the ongoing troubles at Tesla, whose CEO Elon Musk has a tendency to promise that Full Self-Driving capabilities are right around the corner, only for them to never arrive.