Tech winter: Apple cancels driverless EV project, lays off hundreds of workers


Apple has reportedly shelved its autonomous electric car project permanently and is likely to lay off “hundreds of employees” from the division, the media reported on Wednesday. According to a TechCrunch report, the company is likely “cutting hundreds of employees from the team and all work on the project has stopped”.

Some employees will be shifted to Apple’s generative AI (GenAI) projects. The Apple car project had around 1,400 employees. Apple first started working on its car project called “Project Titan” way back in 2014.

According to TechCrunch, “Apple’s chief operating officer Jeff Williams and the vice president in charge of Titan, Kevin Lynch, announced the news to the team Tuesday in a short meeting that lasted about 12 minutes, and did not take questions, according to the employee. While this person described the announcement as abrupt, they said the decision was not, citing the constantly shifting priorities.”

“A number of high-profile automotive executives cycled through Project Titan over the years. Most notably, the project was once run by former Tesla executive Doug Field (who eventually left to take a role at Ford). Apple also poached executives from Lamborghini and Ford.”

In 2021, it hired Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive who helped run the i3 program. In December last year, Apple delayed the launch of its electric vehicle, referred to as the ‘Apple Car’, until 2026 which was expected to be priced under $100,000.

The tech giant also scaled back its vision for the self-driving electric vehicle. Initially, the iPhone maker intended to create an automobile with no steering wheel or pedals, allowing passengers to sit facing one another in a limousine-style vehicle.

Later, the project was reduced in scope and was set to have a more traditional design with a driver’s seat, steering wheel and pedals, according to earlier reports.

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