Apple Announces Layoffs in Project Titan, Is the Self-Driving Car Project Doomed?

apples-project-titanTech giant Apple is not one to shy away from mistakes—hey, you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, right?—but while the innovations leader of the world for many years continues to launch bigger and bigger projects it looks like the biggest one of all is coming to a halt.  Indeed, Apple’s Project Titan—the autonomous car project—is facing quite the reboot.

Evidently, Apple has said they have plans to lay off a significant number of people working on Project Titan as part of an overhaul of the concept.  It is not, necessarily, that the company is shutting down the whole project, but Apple has already laid off several dozen employees from its most ambitious initiative of late.

In spite of this, though, Apple has also reported progress on the project and has even started real-world testing of fully autonomous vehicles within a closed environment—the step before testing on actual, real-world streets.  However, they are now saying that their technology is not going to be ready for mainstream study and development for at least the next few years.

More importantly, though, Apple is said to be shifting focus away from construction of their own self-driving, electric vehicles to work more specifically on the development of the proprietary software.  And it is this aspect of the refocus that Bob Mansfield laid out as a major component to his plan when he became the new leader of Project Titan.

Now, Apple remains true to form and has not said much else—if anything at all—about the Project Titan reboot.  It does not remain clear what direction they are heading, but the idea of moving away from vehicle manufacturing and focusing on software makes more sense.  Developing cars is complicated—and expensive—but developing software is something that Apple already does with great flair; so this way they could stay in the industry without bearing the risk and the investment associated with vehicle manufacturing.

Still, Apple faces heavy competition from tech firms like Google and Uber and from auto companies like Tesla, Ford, and GM.  With all that is expected to happen in the next few years, it is difficult to believe that Apple would completely drop out of this industry.  Indeed, it is quite more likely that they will find a way to stay relevant and competitive.

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