Apple’s secretive self-driving car division, code-named Project Titan, has fired over 200 employees.
Executives within the company are trying to position the news as part of an “anticipated restructuring.” It has not been made clear, however, whether those that were laid off expected this move to be made.
Rumors first started to leak about Apple’s autonomous vehicle program in 2015, after it began a year prior. Details about the project are only gossip, so there is speculation about what the tech giant is working on. Some believe they are trying to assemble an entire car, possibly even a minivan. There are others that think Apple is only working on software for the future generation of self-driving cars. Nonetheless, nobody outside of the project knows for certain what Project Titan entails.
“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. 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,” an unnamed Apple spokesperson told CNBC with regards to the laying off of the numerous engineers.
“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.”
Most of the known information about Project Titan comes from public filings and applications in California. There was also a test car involved in an accident during the summer of 2018 that belonged to Apple. Furthermore, some information has been released as part of a lawsuit against a former employee. The employee allegedly stole trade secrets from Project Titan and shared them with Chinese startup XMotors.
Nevertheless, Apple has always tried to remain as secretive as possible, and Project Titan is no exception to the trend. Most believe there will continue to be minimal leaks of information until the official release of whatever the final product ends up being.