Apple pulls the plug on its billion-dollar car project - Hindustan Times

Apple pulls the plug on its billion-dollar car project to focus on generative AI

Feb 28, 2024 01:06 PM IST

Apple ditches its electric car dream, shutting down Project Titan after a decade of speculation, now focusing on generative AI.

Apple has scrapped its long-rumoured electric car project, according to multiple sources, putting an end to a secretive and costly endeavour that has been in the works for over a decade.

Apple shifts gears from car to AI after scrapping Project Titan. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo(REUTERS)
Apple shifts gears from car to AI after scrapping Project Titan. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo(REUTERS)

The company broke the news to its employees during an internal meeting on Tuesday, saying that it would lay off some workers and reassign others to focus on generative artificial intelligence, as reported by various outlets.

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The electric car project, known as Project Titan, was estimated to have cost Apple billions of dollars in research and development, and its cancellation is a significant reversal of its previous strategy.

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The Apple CEO, Tim Cook, had occasionally dropped hints about the company’s interest in a car in the past, but he never confirmed that it was working on one.

What is Project Titan?

The project had attracted a lot of attention and speculation from both the tech and the automotive sectors. Apple had recruited top talent from prestigious car makers such as Lamborghini and Tesla to lead its efforts, and had bought the self-driving startup in 2019.

According to Bloomberg, the announcement caught many of the employees involved in the project off guard, and some of them may lose their jobs.

The project had faced many challenges and changes since it began in 2014. The company had struggled to bring a product to the market, and had revised its plans several times.

In 2016, Apple laid off dozens of workers who were part of the project, and in 2021, the key executive who was overseeing the project left to join Ford.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Apple had pushed back its expected launch date for the car to at least 2028. According to the outlet, the company had also scaled back its vision for the car, from a fully autonomous vehicle to one with some self-driving features similar to Tesla’s cars. This starkly contrasted the company’s original idea of creating a completely driverless car with no steering wheel and a limousine-like interior.

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Elon Musk, reacted to Apple’s decision to abandon its electric car by tweeting emojis of a salute and a cigarette on X.

Apple will reportedly shift more of its resources to working on generative AI projects, and will move some of the engineers and researchers who were working on the car project to its special projects group.

During an earnings call earlier this month, Cook said that Apple was investing “a tremendous amount of time and effort” on artificial intelligence and would introduce generative AI features to its customers within the year.

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