Apple has dismissed over 200 employees who were a part of Project Titan, its autonomous vehicle group.
A source familiar with the layoffs told CNBC that the company took the step as part of its restructuring plans for the unit, after former Tesla vice president Doug Field took charge of Apple's Titan team with Bob Mansfield.
An Apple spokesperson also spoke of the "anticipated restructuring" and said that the company has a talented team of employees working on the autonomous systems.
"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," the spokesperson said.
"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."
Apart from the 200 employees, there are many others who will reportedly be moved to various other units within the company.
This is the second layoff in the autonomous vehicle unit, the first one reported in September 2016 when Apple let go dozens of workers and was said to be revamping the project. The layoffs were carried out as seniors executives were said to be unhappy with the slow work on the project.
At one time, Project Titan was said to have about 1,000 workers — some taken in from other departments and others reportedly poached from established auto players.
The Cupertino, California-based company is known to be working on its autonomous vehicle project for a while now, but Apple hasnt revealed too many details on it. When CEO Tim Cook first spoke of it in June 2017, it was thought that Apple was developing its own car. However, it later turned out that the company was modifying cars from Lexus with a focus on the software, reported Fortune.
While details of the unit may not be widely available, Project Titan has made quite some news especially with an engineer allegedly stealing Apple secrets to take to a Chinese company. Xiaolang Zhang has pleaded not guilty, but if convicted, he is likely to face a prison time of about 10 years and a $250,000 penalty.