Apple lays off 'dozens' of employees working on self-driving cars, report says
Apple has laid off “dozens” of employees working on its autonomous driving project, The New York Times reported.
The report cited three unnamed sources familiar with the project, who said the company has shut down parts of the initiative in an attempt to refocus its strategy. Apple did not respond to Automotive News for a request for comment on the report.
The company has been secretive about its automotive project, unlike fellow tech giant Google, which has been publicly testing its autonomous technology since 2014. Rumors about Apple’s car project -- code-named Titan -- have been circulating since longtime Apple employee and former Ford Motor Co. engineer Steven Zadesky was tapped to lead the initiative two years ago.
Zadesky left the company in January for personal reasons and was replaced by Bob Mansfield, who had helped develop products such as the MacBook Air laptop and the iPad tablet.
Since Mansfield took over, the project has shifted to developing the technology for autonomous driving from manufacturing a whole vehicle, Bloomberg reported.
Under Zadesky, the main features of the project were expected to be signed off on by Apple engineers by 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple’s “reboot” comes as other technology companies and automotive manufacturers roll out autonomous or semiautonomous driving tests.
On Sunday, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said the company was revising its Autopilot technology to rely on radar instead of camera sensors, refining the program through fleet learning. Next week, Volvo and Uber will launch their self-driving ride-hailing service in Pittsburgh.