Apple just laid off more than 200 employees from its stealthy autonomous vehicle group, called Project Titan, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. A spokesperson from the company acknowledged these layoff, saying the company still sees great opportunity in the space.
“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.
The spokesperson continued 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.”
Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president back in August, in addition to Apple veteran Doug Field to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield. Other employees who were dismissed due to the restructuring of Project Titan are staying at Apple, though they will be branching off to other parts of the company.
“I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?’ it will be about health,” CEO Tim Cook told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
Apple remains quiet when it comes to its car prospects, especially in the recent months, which appears to have been scaled back from the first rumored vehicle to focus on software. Back in 2016, Apple laid off employees from the same group, with different strategies in mind.