Apple Slashes Workforce in Self-Driving Car Division

The tech giant has laid off more than 200 employees from its autonomous vehicle team. Apple has been quiet about the division, which reportedly was created in 2015 to develop technology that can be used by car companies.

by Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News / January 25, 2019

(TNS) — Apple has dismissed more than 200 employees from its secretive self-driving car division, according to a new report.

The company on Thursday acknowledged changes to its Project Titan team, which were first reported by CNBC, but did not provide specific numbers.

“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple,” a company spokesman said. “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.”

The spokesman would not say how many employees remain on the autonomous driving team.

“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,” he said.

According to CNBC, the shakeup of the group is being billed as a reorganization under Doug Field, the hardware engineer who came back to Apple in August after five years at Tesla. Field is leading Project Titan along with Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of hardware engineering.

Apple has long been tight-lipped about its work on autonomous vehicles. Speculation in 2015 that Apple was building its own self-driving cars was followed by reports of dozens of layoffs in that division in 2016 amid a shift in focus. In 2017, CEO Tim Cook said the company is developing technology that can be used by car companies.

Apple conducts its self-driving tests on California roads using Lexus vehicles, and reportedly has a deal with Volkswagen to create self-driving shuttles for Apple employees.

©2019 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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