Apple‘s mysterious work in the automotive sector, the oft-reported “Project Titan,” seems to be going through a number significant changes recently. There are said to have been “dozens” of employee layoffs following a “reboot” in strategy and closure of part of the project, according to the latest report on matter from the New York Times. These changes are believed to be tied to the recent change in leadership, which saw longtime Apple executive Bob Mansfield take over the project in July.
The NY Times writes that “Apple employees were told that the layoffs were part of a “reboot” of the car project.” This reboot is believed to be a change in focus under Mansfield where Apple will not work on building an actual vehicle, but instead develop the underlying technology for self-driving cars.
This idea lines up with a previous Bloomberg report, also from July, that outlined Apple’s struggle in trying to both design an electric car and develop autonomous driving software, while at the same time trying to keep pace with Tesla and other automotive leaders.
It’s been said that over the last 18 months, the Titan project has grown to roughly 1,000 employees, following Apple’s efforts to recruit car and battery engineers, including poach a few from Tesla and Ford. If the NY Times‘ details are accurate, it’s likely that many of those hired for the actual vehicle part of the project are the ones being let go.
The most recent timeline on the Apple car suggests a goal of launching sometime in the year 2021, but if a substantial reboot is underway, who knows how accurate that is. And if Apple really is choosing to focus on the self-driving tech, at some point soon they’ll need to start vehicle testing on real-world roads. Whatever the situation, Project Titan remains Apple’s biggest mystery.
SOURCE New York Times