Apple has dismissed not less than 200 of its employees working on the Titan Project. People familiar with the matter told CNBC that the company this week laid-off workers from its stealthy autonomous vehicle group.
Through a spokesperson, Apple has acknowledged the move, saying, however, that there are still opportunities in the space. Apple on its pay-roll has incredibly talented team members who are working on autonomous systems and associated technologies. The team, however, will focus attention on other key areas in 2019, implying that some will be deployed to other projects handled by the company. There, they will support any initiative by the company as well as machine learning, the spokesperson added.
Apple has not lost hopes about the numerous opportunities opening in the autonomous systems, which represent the most ambitious machine learning project ever. The company may also partner with other autonomous developers to encourage unique capabilities.
In August 2018, Apple assigned the leadership of the Titan team to Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, alongside Bob Mansfield. It is meanwhile believed internally that the dismissals from the group this week is a restructuring anticipated under every new leadership.
For other Titan project employees that the restructuring had not affected, they are at Apple. However, the remaining employees have been deployed to other divisions in Apple.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO has been showing-off lately the initiatives of the company in the health sector, he described it as a formidable tool to its future growth. “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,” Tim told CNBC.
Meanwhile, Apple executives have in recent months been relatively silent over the company’s car prospects. There are speculations that Titan project may have been reduced back to just software design from the intended massive system. When Apple shifted its strategy in 2016, it also laid off workers from this same group. Truth is, for major players like Waymo, Cruise, and Tesla in the autonomous systems, developing fully driverless vehicles has remained quite experimental.
Developing self-driving vehicles has indeed witnessed lots of venture investors as well as strategic investors coming from the traditional automotive industry. Some of the companies that have invested billions of dollars into this include Embark, Pony.AI, Zoox, May Mobility, Aurora, and many more.