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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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
24 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)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
Apple Watc black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best Apple Watch Deals [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 4:01 pm PST by
Black Friday sales have begun on a variety of products, including the Apple Watch. There are quite a few deals across the Apple Watch lineup this year, including one of the lowest price we've ever seen the Apple Watch Series 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
AirPods Pro black friday 20 sale feature 2

Black Friday 2020: AirPods Pro Reach Lowest Price Ever [Updated]

Wednesday November 25, 2020 3:22 pm PST by
Black Friday has kicked off this week, and one of the first major sales for the AirPods Pro is available right now on Walmart. You can find this deal below, along with a few other solid discounts on the regular AirPods. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals [Updated]

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Black Friday is underway, and we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the current-generation 10.2-inch iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We'll be keeping this post updated as new deals appear and current ones expire, so be sure to keep checking back for the latest. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...