A report in the New York Times claims that Apple is abandoning any hope of building an Apple Car, and has turned instead to working on the technology that powers autonomous vehicles and cars. A big part of that research is going to go towards making a self-driving shuttle vehicle that can move Apple employees between different Apple campuses.

The report details how Apple has overhauled Project Titan, its original plan to build a self-driving car from the ground up, in favour of concentrating just on the self-driving technology. It’s a move that makes sense: leave the car-making to the carmakers, and instead focus on the technology side of autonomous vehicles.

The pinnacle of Apple’s new plan will be a self-driving shuttle service, which will take Apple employees between old Apple buildings and its fancy new UFO headquarters. The shuttle, nicknamed PAIL — that’s short for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop — will be based on a commercial vehicle from an existing car company, outfitted with Apple’s own self-driving technology.

The switch in focus marks the end of years of research inside Apple. Project Titan, which has been long-rumored but completely unconfirmed by Apple, was reportedly focused on building an entire Apple Car from the ground up. According to the report, “Apple even looked into reinventing the wheel. A team within Titan investigated the possibility of using spherical wheels — round like a globe — instead of the traditional, round ones, because spherical wheels could allow the car better lateral movement.”

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.