Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has reportedly eliminated more than 200 employees from its Project Titan autonomous vehicle initiative this week. According to published reports, those employees’ positions were eliminated as part of a restructuring of the unit. An Apple spokesperson has confirmed the layoffs.
Project Titan was one of Apple’s primary autonomous technology projects and focused on the development of technology for self-driving cars. It is not clear how many people were working on the project. A restructuring of the team had been expected after the project was placed under new leadership last year.
According to the company spokesperson, some of the employees removed from Project Titan with remain with the company, working in other areas. The spokesperson said, “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 project is not being shuttered, as the company still sees opportunity in the space. The company’s statement clarified, “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.”
This is not the first round of layoffs to hit the Project Titan team. Back in 2016, Apple decided to reduce the number of members on the team as it shifted its strategy for the group. Now, instead of trying to create an entire vehicle, the team has narrowed its focus to the software needed to make a vehicle autonomous. The exact nature of the team’s work is still shrouded in mystery.