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After a decade of stops and starts, Apple kills its electric car project

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After 10 years of development, multiple changes in direction and leadership, and a plethora of leaks, Apple has reportedly ended work on its electric car project. According to a report in Bloomberg, the company is shifting some of the staff to work on generative AI projects within the company and planning layoffs for some others.

Internally dubbed Project Titan, the long-in-development car would have ideally had a luxurious, limo-like interior, robust self-driving capabilities, and at least a $100,000 price tag. However, the ambition of the project was drawn down with time. For example, it was once planned to have Level 4 self-driving capabilities, but that was scaled back to Level 2+.

Delays had pushed the car (on which work initially began way back in 2014) to a target release date of 2028. Now it won’t be released at all.

The decision was “finalized by Apple’s most senior executives in recent weeks,” according to Bloomberg’s sources. Apple’s leadership worried that the car might never find the profit margins they previously hoped for. This development won’t surprise many who have been following closely, though. The project has been known to be troubled for a while, and Apple would have had to face high startup costs and a difficult regulatory environment even had it been able to get a product together.

The shift in focus was announced to staff by Apple executives Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch. Many employees who were working on the self-driving feature of the car will be moved under AI chief John Giannandrea to work on various projects, including generative AI. However, the fates of others who worked on other aspects of the car, like automobile engineering and design, are less certain. The report says layoffs are likely but doesn’t specify how many or on what timeline.

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For a long time, it was known that Apple was investing in two major expansions: one into the automobile space and one into augmented reality. The first step in the latter was rolled out in the form of the Vision Pro headset a few weeks ago. With the car project canceled, Apple’s known areas of planned future expansion include mixed reality, wearables, and generative AI.

Source: Ars Technica

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