Apple Spent More Than $10 Billion on Apple Car Before Canceling Project

Apple spent more than $10 billion working on the Apple Car over the last decade, according to a report from The New York Times that details the issues the project faced during development. Apple first launched the project in 2014 and let it flounder for more than a decade before calling it off earlier this week.


Money was spent on research and development, along with the thousands of Apple engineers and car experts that worked on the project. Some employees within Apple are said to have suspected that the endeavor was likely to fail from the beginning, and they referred to the car as "the Titanic disaster" instead of its "Project Titan" codename.

Apple CEO Tim Cook signed off on the project, but members of the car team knew that it was going to be close to impossible. An electric vehicle with self-driving capabilities would need to cost at least $100,000, and it would have razor thin margins and stiff competition.

While Apple reportedly held discussions with Elon Musk about a possible purchase of Tesla, the company decided that building its own car made more sense than attempting to integrate Tesla into Apple. Way back in 2014, Musk said that he had "conversations" with Apple, but he said at the time that an acquisition seemed "very unlikely."

Apple was never able to find the right leader for the Apple Car project. As we detailed in a look back at the Apple Car's history earlier today, the project had four different leads and was scaled up and scaled back several times over the course of the last 10 years. According to The New York Times, the ultimate reason that it failed was because Apple was simply unable to develop the software and algorithms for a car with autonomous driving.

The more than 2,000 employees that worked on the car project are being redistributed, some will join other teams at Apple to work on AI and other technologies, and some will be laid off. Apple will take what it learned from the car project and apply it to other devices like AI-powered AirPods with cameras, robot assistants, and augmented reality.

More on the downfall of the Apple Car and some of the technologies that Apple came up with can be found in the full The New York Times report.

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Top Rated Comments

Antoniosmalakia Avatar
21 weeks ago

Their yearly profit is about $100 Billion, so keep that in mind for comparison.
I knew my overpriced SSD upgrade was paying for something (nothing).
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jooish Avatar
21 weeks ago
Other than paychecks, I'd like to see what $10b and a decade of work amounted to.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Eso Avatar
21 weeks ago
Their yearly profit is about $100 Billion, so keep that in mind for comparison.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar74 Avatar
21 weeks ago
iPhone sales flat. Car cancelled. AVP better knock it out of th--

Never mind.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NT1440 Avatar
21 weeks ago
I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Given the types of patents that have been a result of the initiative it seems like Project Titan at some point started functioning as a Basic R&D lab. Think Bell Labs or Palo Alto Research center.

Apple has been patenting some really cool stuff across a whole range of areas that while were dreamt up in the context of a car, can definitely apply to a whole host of different areas.

https://www.patentlyapple.com/autonomous-vehicle-technology/

Smart fabrics being just one area that comes to mind…
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sevoneone Avatar
21 weeks ago
Tim said: "Make me a car, or make me a new device with a starting price that is as much as a cheap used car."

This is where we are now.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)