Apple has dismissed over 200 employees this week from Project Titan, its autonomous vehicle department, according to a report from CNBC. At this time, it is unclear how many were let go altogether and how many were moved to other divisions within Apple.
A spokesperson from Apple said the company does see an opportunity for this space but that some of the staff members will be moving to other divisions.
“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple,” the spokesperson said.
CNBC reported that the layoffs had been expected due to restructuring under Project Titan’s new leadership, long-time Apple employee Bob Manfield and Doug Field, Apple’s former VP of Mac hardware engineering.
Currently, not much is known about Project Titan. There had been sneak peeks such as a tech stack for the vehicle roof, and the company had reportedly doubled its fleet last January. Even though there was a lot of mystery around the project, it was clear that it was taking up a great deal of Apple’s energy and focus.
The spokesperson also was reported as saying, “We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever.”
It is still uncertain what will happen to Project Titan now that the division has been restructured and Field has been appointed.