Chris Lattner announced he’s leaving Apple “to pursue an opportunity in another space.” Turns out that space is Tesla autopilot software. John Gruber says, “Lattner is a really smart, very well-liked, and deeply respected guy. His leaving is a loss for Apple.” This further calls into question the status and viability of Apple’s car project. Business Insider said Apple has more recently been focused “on building an autonomous driving system instead of a complete car”, which makes this even more strange.

Mat Honan at Buzzfeed was invited to ride in an autonomous Google car. In his article, he says the following (emphasis mine):

There are a lot of questions we should be asking about self-driving cars (Will they be privately or publicly owned? Both? Will nonautonomous vehicles be banned? When? How will we secure them from hacking and viruses and malware and plain old-fashioned bugs? How can we preserve our location privacy? How will they operate in disaster and evacuation scenarios? How will they be insured? And purely in terms of Google, if it isn’t getting into the manufacturing business, and given that it doesn’t operate purely altruistically, how does it intend to turn a profit off of this highly expensive research project it has embarked on? What will it track? What will it monitor? What will it do inside those cute little cars?**)

With these questions, he explained to me why Apple would work on a self-driving car: security and privacy. Of course, they’ll intend to make profit as well, but not at the expense of these two things.

First, the name is bad. Dune Beetle, or Dung Beetle? Go with Baja; it fits the vehicle’s roots better.

Second, put the engine where it belongs on a dune buggy: the back.

Third, who in their right mind thought it was okay to make this vehicle front wheel drive? It should be all wheel drive. (By the way, I wouldn’t mind if AWD was an option on more of your vehicles.)

Fourth, a ski rack? A dune buggy with a ski rack. Right.

I’m disappointed, VW. Concepts are usually much cooler than what they get watered down to for production. This concept is really lame to begin with.