Apple never really acknowledged that they are working on a project related to cars. It has been an open secret in Silicon Valley that they are working on a so-called Project Titan primarily working on an Apple secret car project design.
According to a report by the New York Times, the Apple secret car project started two years ago and has since expanded rather quickly. It was reported to have poached several auto industry experts and built a team of one thousand people in a span of 18 months. Its team is built by people who came from Tesla, Ford, and BMW.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the engineers at Apple has been working very hard on car design and was targeting to release it by 2020. However, this goal was affected by the departure of some team members, technical delays, and a general confusion on where the project is heading.
Now, it seems like dozens of employees especially those who came from the auto industry has been laid off, while some were transferred to another division according to most sources.
The former head of Blackberry Ltd., Bob Mansfield was tapped by Apple to take leadership of Project Titan in July. He replaced Steve Zadesky who was a former Ford engineer, worked on both iPod and iPhone, and was actually seen as a potential successor to current Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Mansfield was keen on shifting the project’s focus from building a fully electric vehicle to a software for a self-driving car.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has held talks with several automotive brands such as Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, and Mercedes-Benz in the past 12 months according to Autocar but still has no clear indication of Apple’s intent in meeting with these car brands.
He was previously asked to comment about a rumored Apple secret car project and Tim Cook only teased, “I don’t have anything to announce about our plans. But I think there’s some significant changes in the automobile industry over the next several years with electrification and autonomous driving. And there’s a need for a focus on user interface. So I think there’s a lot of changes that will go on there.”
Could it mean that they will be partnering up with established car manufacturers in the near future? And is the shift in focus of Project Titan the cause of the layoff? Like always, the company is mum about it.
Still, Apple is rumored to have an Apple Car in the works but has no actual plans of unveiling one anytime soon. They are not the only Tech company in Silicon Valley that is working on the same technology either. Google, Tesla, and Uber are in the same autonomous driving playing field as Apple. Even giant automotive companies like Ford and General Motors have plans to release a self-driving car in the future.
Will you be interested in having an Apple Car in the future or would you rather they develop a self-driving software instead? Feel free to answer in the comment section below.