25 January 2019
Apple has dismissed over 200 employees from its Project Titan autonomous car division. The division has seen a major restructuring and last year in August, Apple had enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team along with Bob Mansfield. The layoffs have been stated to a part of restructuring plans of the company under the relatively new leadership.
According to reports, other employees were also impacted by the restructuring of Project Titan and have been shifted to different parts of the company.
An Apple spokesperson has acknowledged the layoffs and stated: “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.”
“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.”
Apple has been scaling back from the initial rumored vehicle to a focus on software. The company had laid off employees from the same division in 2016 as well. Fully self-driving cars remain experimental, and even major players in the field like Waymo, Cruise and Tesla have been unable to launch self-driving vehicles successfully till now.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been touting Apple’s initiatives in health as the key to its future. “I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ it will be about health,” Cook stated in an interview earlier this year.