Apple’s self-driving car project – codenamed Project Titan – is laying off 190 individuals. The layoffs include 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers, and 22 software engineers, according to AppleInsider. The new round of layoffs comes after the Apple self-driving car program dismissed 200 employees form the project in January; however, some of those people transferred to other positions within the tech giant. The new round of layoffs is effective April 16th.
The developments have made many wonder whether Apple is planning to wind down Project Titan altogether, or if it is simply changing direction.
The layoffs come as General Motors and its Cruise subsidiary prepare to launch an autonomous ride-sharing service sometime this year. GM is also opening new offices for Cruise, one in the Seattle area and another in the city of Pasadena in California, a short distance from Apple self-driving project in San Francisco. The General is also doubling its resources for autonomous and electric vehicles.
San Francisco is also where GM and Cruise Automation have a bulk of their self-driving efforts. Earlier this year, Cruise published a video showing its self-driving vehicle navigating the crowded and tricky San Francisco streets. The company also noted a considerable improvement in AV disengagements.
At this point, it’s unclear what Apple self-driving project is trying to achieve. Much of the news and information surrounding the project was speculative, though Apple has tested self-driving cars in California. There were rumors the company was developing its own self-driving cars while other rumors suggested Apple was developing underlying “core” technologies to be used by cars from other manufacturers. As AppleInsider points out, it’s unclear what the layoffs mean for Project Titan.
Either way, the laid-off Apple employees might be able to find new jobs at GM’s Cruise as it opens new offices and ramps up developing for its autonomous ride-sharing service. It’s surely an exciting time for the industry as legacy automakers and technology companies pour resources into self-driving cars and technologies, though it is not necessarily great for automotive enthusiasts who actually like driving.