Friday, 22 February, 2019


Apple cuts hundreds of employees from secretive self-driving auto project

Apple puts brakes on car team but keeps eye on roadMore Apple puts brakes on car team but keeps eye on roadMore
Melba Vasquez | 26 January, 2019, 19:13

Apple has cut more than 200 staff from its top-secretive self-driving auto unit Project Titan, autonomous vehicle program, as the businesses undergo some restructuring under new management.

Apple has never divulged the size of its Project Titan team, but it was reportedly in the range of 1,000 employees before this latest restructuring.

An Apple spokesperson explained, "We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple".

In August, Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield.

It is clear that Apple's vehicle project was a non-starter from the outset.

Earlier media reports said Apple had scaled back the project in 2016 and shifted focus to developing software for autonomous cars.

A spokesperson for the tech company confirmed the layoffs to the business news channel.

Normally, Apple keeps mum about its self-driving auto program but it has officially acknowledged a bit of restructuring in the project.

Apple issued a statement confirming cuts at the effort, but the company also reiterated its interest in the broad category of autonomous systems.

Earlier past year, Apple took steps to develop its vehicle technology, by hiring a Tesla, Inc.

Nevertheless, Apple is not giving up on the project.

However, under the direction of Mansfield, Apple began shifted away from building a complete auto to focus instead on the underlying self-driving technology that can be added to an existing vehicle platform. Once thought to be aimed at the development of an entire autonomous vehicle that the company would sell, it is now understood to be part of Apple's broader work on autonomous technology, which CEO Tim Cook has suggested includes self-driving cars, an area he has called "the mother" of all artificial intelligence projects.

Apple acknowledged the cuts, initially reported by CNBC, but said that it still sees a "huge opportunity" in the sector. Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook said that "importance of an Apple's unit is not defined by hiring rates".

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