Apple Cuts 200+ Employees From 'Project Titan' Autonomous Car Team

Apple this week removed more than 200 employees from its autonomous car team, known internally as "Project Titan," reports CNBC.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the layoffs to CNBC, but said that Apple continues to believe there is a "huge opportunity" with autonomous systems. According to the statement provided, some of the former Project Titan employees have been moved to other parts of the company.

lexussuvselfdriving2

"We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple," the spokesperson said.

"We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever," they added.

In August, Apple hired former Tesla lead engineer Doug Field to lead Project Titan alongside Bob Mansfield, and the employee dismissals this week were reportedly not a surprise, but rather expected restructuring under the new leadership.

Apple began work on Project Titan in 2014, and at the time, rumors suggested the company was working to develop an electric vehicle at a secret location near its Cupertino headquarters.

Leadership issues, internal strife, and other problems impacted the development of the car, and in 2016, new information suggested Apple had shelved its plans for a car to instead focus on an autonomous driving system.

The hiring of Field, who was once Apple's VP of Mac hardware before he went to Tesla, has, however, been seen as a sign that Apple is again developing a full autonomous vehicle.

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often accurately predicts the company's product plans, also believes that an Apple Car is in development with a targeted launch date between 2023 and 2025. With the new restructuring of the project, though, Apple's ultimate autonomous driving plans are unclear, and this could be a sign that a full ‌Apple Car‌ is once again off the table.

Apple has been testing autonomous driving software out on the roads of Cupertino since early 2017, and it has developed a self-driving shuttle service to transport Apple employees between various office locations in Silicon Valley.

In June 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed Apple's work on autonomous driving software, an unusual step as Apple does not often share details on products that are still under development.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," said Cook. "It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects."

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

calstanford Avatar
45 months ago
Why Apple, a company with absolutely zero capabilities in car manufacturing and/or AI development has to build automotive AI is beyond me. Where's the core competency? How does it fit into the computer/mobile business?

I just find it laughable how Apple can't invest a few millions in new wireless routers, monitors, you name it as they're not 'core' enough to the business but somehow automotive AI is deserving billions?!
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
andyyau Avatar
45 months ago
Forget it! Five years without making a new MacPro. How can they make a car. I never believe them.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Grey Area Avatar
45 months ago
Did anyone read the article?
Those parts read like typical corporate damage control PR to me. "Our failure was exactly the way we wanted it, everything is awesome!"
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JoEw Avatar
45 months ago
Man if this thing ever sees the light of day I hope the stories of this project leak out to the public.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
catportal Avatar
45 months ago
The recent revenue guidance really has them shook. Looks like they are cutting high cost programs for shareholders. Unfortunately, iPhone is at peak saturation.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tvquang Avatar
45 months ago
Why Apple, a company with absolutely zero capabilities in car manufacturing and/or AI development has to build automotive AI is beyond me. Where's the core competency? How does it fit into the computer/mobile business?

I just find it laughable how Apple can't invest a few millions in new wireless routers, monitors, you name it as they're not 'core' enough to the business but somehow automotive AI is deserving billions?!
Tesla can build a car from the ground up, so anyone can.

A car is no longer just a mean of transportation. It's getting smarter and more personal. A smart autonomous car which can take its owner everywhere without a driver is the future. For example, an apple car that connect to apple watch, which know the owner's health, can take the owner to the hospital in case it detect illness. You don't know what a smart car can do until they show you, just like you didn't know what a smart phone was capable of until Apple shows us.

Wireless router, monitors,... are old stuffs. There are others who can do these better than Apple. These are not Apple's core business anymore. And it takes a lot of effort to enter and lead an existing market.

In order to lead the world and open new chapter, Apple need to enter another new market first, just like it did with the iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad. There's a lot of risk in new market, but the opportunity is high.

Microsoft and Google are also researching the autonomous vehicles market (Google is doing it). If Apple doesn't do it, Apple will fall behind once Microsoft and Google make their own autonomous car or cooperate with an auto manufacturer.

The autonomous vehicle involves AI, which is Apple's focus now. Apple has been working hard on AI lately, so definitely it needs to at least own an autonomous vehicles software.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
rootbug

Major macOS High Sierra Bug Allows Full Admin Access Without Password - How to Fix [Updated]

Tuesday November 28, 2017 12:33 pm PST by
There appears to be a serious bug in macOS High Sierra that enables the root superuser on a Mac with a blank password and no security check. The bug, discovered by developer Lemi Ergin, lets anyone log into an admin account using the username "root" with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator's account on an unlocked Mac, and it also provides access at the login...