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Project Titan: Apple halts autonomous car project

Project Titan: Apple halts autonomous car project
Project Titan: Apple halts autonomous car project
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Apple’s foray into the future of mobility took an unexpected turn when the tech company canceled the much-anticipated autonomous electric vehicle (EV) initiative, known as ‘Project Titan.’

Apple announced this week it will be reallocating resources. The move will affect hundreds of employees and signal a new direction for the company’s mobility roadmap. 

End of the road for Apple’s Project Titan

As reported by Bloomberg, Apple’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, and vice president in charge of the project, Kevin Lynch, made the announcement internally on Tuesday. The 1,400 employees working on Project Titan were told the initiative would be winding down. 

As part of a strategic pivot, the focus will now turn to Apple’s generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) endeavors, led by executive John Giannandrea. Williams said Apple’s Gen AI projects would take key priority.

According to Tech Crunch, staff members were given 90 days to find a reassignment to other roles, or risk facing layoffs. While some layoffs are expected, many hardware engineers and designers working on the project have highly sought-after skills needed in other departments.

An employee who spoke to TC on the condition of anonymity said Williams and Lynch didn’t take any questions during the 12-minute meeting.

ALSO READ: EU’s ambitious goal for a full EV fleet by 2030

Apple shifting gears to Gen AI

Details about Apple’s Gen AI projects are scarce. During the company’s quarterly earnings call earlier this month, CEO Tim Cook mentioned that AI software features would be available “later this year.” 

However, Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Anurag Rana and Andrew Girard said the shift from EVs to AI “is a good strategic move.” The potential of AI revenue streams exceeds those of vehicle manufacturing. 

Cook said Apple will continue to invest in technologies “that will shape the future,” including artificial intelligence. “We continue to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort, and we’re excited to share the details of our ongoing work in that space later this year.” 

Despite pressure from analytics for more information, Cook didn’t budge. He said Apple’s modus operandi had always been “to do work and then talk about work.” He concluded the call by saying generative AI is “a huge opportunity” for Apple. 

Project Titan highlights

One of the most ambitious projects in Apple’s history, Project Titan kicked off exactly ten years ago. At one point, it had a workforce of approximately 5,000 employees. At the time, Apple wanted to create a Tesla competitor, similar to the Waymo model. 

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Former Tesla vice president of engineering, Doug Field, worked on the project before transitioning to Ford, currently serving as chief EV, digital, and design officer. Field also held the positions of VP of Mac hardware engineering and VP of product design at Apple. 

Meanwhile, BMW executive Ulrich Kranz joined Project Titan in 2021. Apple also hired Lamborghini executive, Luigi Taraborrelli, and Ford executive Desi Ujkashevic in 2022

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About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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