Apple logo is seen inside the Apple Store in Palo Alto
Apple cancels self-driving EV project, to lay off workers: ReportREUTERS/Stephen Lam

In a surprising turn of events, Apple Inc., the multinational technology company, has reportedly put a halt to its autonomous electric car project. This decision is expected to result in the layoff of hundreds of employees from the division. The news, which broke on Wednesday, has sent ripples through the tech industry, marking a significant shift in Apple's strategic direction.

The autonomous electric car project, known as "Project Titan," was initiated by Apple back in 2014. The ambitious endeavor aimed to revolutionize the automotive industry, much like how the iPhone transformed the mobile phone sector. However, according to a report by TechCrunch, all work on the project has now ceased, and the company is likely to cut hundreds of employees from the team.

The Apple car project, at its peak, had a workforce of around 1,400 employees. Some of these employees will be reassigned to Apple's generative AI (GenAI) projects, as the company continues to explore the potential of artificial intelligence.

Project Titan: A Journey of Ups and Downs

In 2021, Apple brought on board Ulrich Kranz, a former BMW executive who played a pivotal role in the i3 programme. Kranz's hiring was seen as a significant step forward for Project Titan, reinforcing Apple's commitment to the project. However, the recent developments suggest a change in course.

In December of the previous year, Apple had delayed the launch of its electric vehicle, referred to as the 'Apple Car', until 2026. The vehicle was expected to be priced under $100,000, positioning it as a potential competitor to Tesla and other electric vehicle manufacturers.

The initial vision for the Apple Car was a radical departure from traditional automobile design. The iPhone maker intended to create a vehicle with no steering wheel or pedals, allowing passengers to sit facing one another in a limousine-style setup. However, this vision was later scaled back, and the project was set to have a more conventional design with a driver's seat, steering wheel, and pedals, according to earlier reports.

Apple LogoReuters

Tech Giants and the Automotive Industry: A Tricky Road

This isn't the first time a tech giant has ventured into the automotive industry, only to face challenges. Google's parent company, Alphabet, launched Waymo in 2009 with the goal of developing self-driving technology. However, despite significant investments and advancements, Waymo has yet to launch a mass-market self-driving car.

Apple's decision to shelve Project Titan could be seen as a strategic move to focus on its core competencies. The tech giant has always excelled in creating consumer electronics and software, and the shift away from the autonomous car project could be a sign of Apple doubling down on its strengths.

While the cancellation of Project Titan may be seen as a setback, it's important to remember that Apple has a history of bouncing back from such situations. The company has faced numerous challenges in the past, but it has always managed to innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

    1. Apple Inc. has reportedly halted its autonomous electric car project, "Project Titan," resulting in potential layoffs.
    2. The project, initiated in 2014, aimed to revolutionize the automotive industry.
    3. Some employees from the project will be reassigned to Apple's generative AI projects.
    4. The decision marks a significant shift in Apple's strategy, focusing more on its core competencies.