Apple car crashes to a halt


Apple car canceled
Apple pulls the plug on one of Silicon Valley's worst-kept secrets: its self-driving electric car project.
Photo: Precious Madubuike/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

In a somewhat shocking development, Apple reportedly completely canceled all development on its self-driving car program on Tuesday.

The company is shifting its emphasis to artificial intelligence, instead.

Apple car canceled: Will never drive off the lot

Apple’s Project Titan to develop a self-driving vehicle has been going since 2014 — about 10 years now. But it hasn’t been a smooth trip, with many management changes and at least one round of layoffs. In January, the project goal was downshifted to an electric vehicle with limited driver-assistance capabilities.

And now the company is abandoning the whole idea, according to an unconfirmed Bloomberg report.

The report cited unnamed “people with knowledge of the matter.” But word was sure to spread quickly as Apple told the entire development team for the product on Tuesday. And that’s about 2,000 people.

The end of Apple car was announced by COO Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, who headed up the project.

Moving to AI instead

The extensive Apple car development team is not all getting laid off, though.

Bloomberg reported:

“Many employees on the team working on the car — known as the Special Projects Group, or SPG — will be shifted to the artificial intelligence division under executive John Giannandrea. Those employees will focus on generative AI projects, an increasingly key priority for the company.”

The employee shift is a logical one. Apple CEO Tim Cook himself once called self-driving cars “the mother of all AI projects.”

And Apple has faced significant criticism for not doing more with artificial intelligence, arguably the hottest sector in tech. But Cook promises that his company puts an enormous amount of effort into AI. The resulting software simply hasn’t been released yet. Cook said recently that he remains “incredibly excited” about announcements in this area coming “later this year.”

And with a fresh influx of talent coming from the now-defunct Project Titan, the prospects for AI in future versions of iOS and macOS look even better.

A self-driving car was always an odd fit for Apple. But AI software for Mac and iPhone is definitely in its area of expertise.


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