Apple Cancels Self-Driving EV Project

While tech giants including Huawei, Xiaomi, Sony, and Meizu have ventured into making electric cars, Apple has reportedly abandoned its car project in favor of focusing on the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives.

Bloomberg claims that the almost 2,000 employees who had been working on the Apple Car project were shocked when Apple made the announcement internally. According to insiders, Kevin Lynch and chief operating officer Jeff Williams informed the Apple workforce of their decision.

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Most of the staff from the Apple Car team, known as the Special Projects Group (SPG) will be moved to the artificial intelligence division led by Apple executive John Giannandrea, to focus on generative AI projects which are an increasingly key priority for the company, the report added.

Bloomberg stated that layoffs will occur, although it is yet unknown how many will be affected. The Apple Car team also employs several hundred hardware engineers and vehicle designers, who may be eligible to seek positions on other Apple teams. According to Bloomberg, Apple had recently planned to price the Apple Car around $100,000, which falls in the luxury car segment. Bear in mind that in the United States, the Standard Range edition of the Tesla Model S starts at US$78,490.

However, it has been stated that Apple executives were apprehensive about the car’s potential to provide the profit margins that the company usually enjoys from its products and that the board was worried about spending “hundreds of millions” of dollars a year on a project that might not witness the completion.

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The Apple Car project, also referred to as Project Titan, first gained notoriety in 2015 when a number of car designers were disclosed as being involved in working on the project. These designers included Marc Newson, who created the Ford 021C concept, Julian Hönig, who designed the Audi RSQ concept, and Aaron Von Minden, who created the BMW Gina concept.

An SAE Level 5 fully autonomous car was the original intention for the Apple Car; however, this was shelved a year later in 2016 in favor of a Level 4 autonomous driving suite or conditional full automation. In January of this year, the project was reported to have been postponed once more, to 2028, with its self-driving capabilities further reduced to “Level 2+,” which is not an official SAE classification but is considered to be a more sophisticated version of Level 2.

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