Apple Lays Off 200 Employees From Autonomous Vehicle Group, Project Titan
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Over 200 Apple employees are looking for new jobs this week after the company decided they were no longer required to work on Project Titan.
Apple's autonomous vehicle group, better known as Project Titan, has been around in some form or another since 2014. We'd like to say Apple is building a car, but as far back as 2016 it was clear this isn't about a car and more about autonomous technology. However, Apple continues to leave us scratching our heads as to what the goal of Titan is.
Back in August last year, Apple rehired Tesla's senior VP of engineering. Doug Field had previously worked for Apple as a product designer and then VP of Mac hardware. Returning to Apple after spending five years working on Tesla's Model 3 certainly gave him the experience to help Apple develop a car, but now there's a new twist. As CNBC reports, Apple this week dismissed over 200 employees from the Project Titan group.
An Apple spokesperson explained that, "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 ... 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"
So not only did 200 people lose their jobs, but other Titan employees have been moved off the project and on to other teams, meaning team Titan diminished in size well beyond the 200 dismissals. The statement from Apple suggests the focus continues to shift from an autonomous vehicle to more general purpose autonomous systems to support any and all of Apple's products.