ICar or NoCar? Apple Car Project Hit With Layoffs, Future Uncertain

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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icar or nocar apple car project hit with layoffs future uncertain

Apple’s self-driving car project seems to have reached the point in a TV show where new actors take on old roles and the script flies out the window.

According to the New York Times, the tech giant’s Project Titan has been hit with a slew of layoffs, leaving several areas of the project boarded up and in the dark.

Is the shadowy Apple car, once the dream of nerds everywhere, powering down?

News of the layoffs, described by an Apple employee as being in the dozens, comes after project leaders seemed to pull a mid-summer U-turn. After Bob Mansfield took the lead on the project back in July, reports arose of a sudden change in direction. The focus of Project Titan reportedly switched from building an autonomous car to developing autonomous car technology.

Sources claim Apple employees were told that the layoffs are part of a “reboot” of the self-driving electric car project.

This, after repeated pushbacks of the release date of a real, physical vehicle, be it prototype or production. Is it time to stop speculating on what form the mysterymobile will take?

Sources claim the company already has several fully autonomous vehicles currently undergoing testing, though it isn’t clear if Apple designed the vehicles — not the autonomous technology — in-house. The testing takes place on closed tracks, which explains the lack of spy photos.

The question plaguing Apple (one mentioned by company sources) is what exactly can the company produce that isn’t already in development by a number of other companies? Several automakers, as well as tech companies like Google and ride-hailing company Uber, have self-driving car projects underway.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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28 of 43 comments
  • Chocolatedeath Chocolatedeath on Sep 12, 2016

    IMO, Apple, Google and some of the others need to stay in their lanes..They both make great software and IMO if they just partnered with a OEM to develop their plans and then license it to all that will take it. Auto OEM's know far less about software than Google or APple and vice versa. At this point I expected Google to approach an AUTO OEM and present what they have to them and ask if they are willing to license it. I love Ford but I wouldn't do this with them as their are known for partnering and once they get to a certain point back out with all the information they learned to "create" their own stuff. They did it with Ecoboost, truck hybrid units with Toyota and also the Hydraulic Hybrid they were working on with the Gov.

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    • VoGo VoGo on Sep 13, 2016

      @JustPassinThru Right wingers hate tax relief for hard working Americans when it helps save the planet from climate change because it threatens their backers' business model.

  • Voyager Voyager on Sep 12, 2016

    Apple's CEO Tim Cook is no visionary like Steve Jobs was. His initial thought was, let's poach away from the competition the best engineers and designers, and we'll come up with something. WRONG! You need to have a vision first. Most designers are just stylists with an attitude. Engineers lack outside the box imagination. It's what you need. http://evworld.com/blogs.cfm?blogID=1351

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    • NoGoYo NoGoYo on Sep 13, 2016

      @NoGoYo No, that's the Note. Galaxy S7 (what I have) is fine.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Sep 12, 2016

    On the one hand, this shows guts and honesty on Tim Cook's part. On the other hand, it seems clear that this has taken a great deal of Apple's R&D attention over the last couple of years, and you wonder what other companies have been doing in Apple's core space during that time. Apple is lucky in that its competition is a bunch of PC and phone OEMs that usually can't shoot straight and that still (especially in the PC space) struggle with the basics of design, but that won't last forever. This puts Apple under a whole lot of pressure to figure out the Next Thing very quickly indeed.

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    • Whitworth Whitworth on Sep 12, 2016

      @WheelMcCoy I didn't need to spend a billion dollars of shareholder money to know Apple Computers shouldn't be manufacturing automobiles. Apple should just use their surplus to buy back shares rather throw it around on dumb projects that lead nowhere.

  • Whitworth Whitworth on Sep 12, 2016

    It was incredibly stupid for Apple to get anywhere near the idea of actually producing automobiles. It makes about as much sense as them getting in the airline business. Apple has gone in a lot of dumb directions since Tim Cook became CEO. I guess "courage" these days is not having a headphone jack.