Today it was reported that Apple's Self-Driving Car project is going through some significant challenges - with some layoffs, reorganization, and perhaps a change in focus.
But let's be realistic here: Self-driving
cars are very hard, on the order of magnitude of the Manhattan project... or
maybe harder. An incredible amount of new science, AI, and associated engineering
needs to be solved. It isn't a "simple" hardware/software engineering
exercise like creating the first iPhone, or implementing the Android OS from scratch, or implementing Twitter.
It took about 40 years for the helicopter to go from concept to production, as a lot of science and engineering had to happen before a helicopter could be a reasonably safe way to travel.
The idea that a self-driving car
project wouldn't go through significant struggles and major changes in
direction is fantasy, as that even happens with simple projects, such as
the creation of another new fighter aircraft.
Kudos to Apple, Tesla, SpaceX, and others for taking on tremendously challenging projects.