Apple Rethinks Self-Driving Car Project Amid Layoffs, Shifts to Underlying Tech


According to a new report from The New York Times, Apple is rethinking plans to enter the self-driving car business, and in doing so has shut down portions of the team widely rumoured to be working on the project, laying off dozens of employees.

Sources familiar with the company’s plans told The New York Times that Apple’s Project Titan, their autonomous car initiative, is now under new project lead Bob Mansfield. The report claims that the company is now shifted its focus to designing the technologies underlying self driving cars, instead of the actual vehicle itself.

The report also claims that Apple is already testing fully autonomous vehicles in closed facilities, suggesting that the company has made some progress with the project.

Apple’s decision to switch directions comes at the cost of employees. At one point, the Titan team was rumoured to be above 1,000 people, which included employees poached from other giants in the space.

Today’s development comes just over one month after reports claimed Mansfield assumed control of Project Titan following the departure of former project head Steve Zadesky. Mansfield announced his intent to retire from the company in 2012, but stayed on as SVP of Technologies until July 2013. After he left the executive team, Mansfield continued to work as a special advisor to CEO Tim Cook.