Once again, Apple’s car plans appear to be in flux. According to a new report from The New York Times, Apple is completely rethinking its plans in the automotive space and, in turn, recently laid off a large number of employees. Word of the layoffs come just about a month after revered Apple executive Bob Mansfield was brought back into the mix to head up Apple’s car project, an initiative otherwise known as Project Titan.
“The job cuts are the latest sign of trouble with Apple’s car initiative,” the report notes. “The company has added resources to the project — code-named Titan — over the last two years, but it has struggled to make progress.”
Over the past two years or so, Apple has hired a number of engineers and executives with deep expertise across the entirety of the car development and manufacturing process. From drivetrain engineers to battery experts, Apple’s car team was said to boast upwards of 800 members before the recent layoffs took effect.
Notably, Apple isn’t completely shuttering its car project but is apparently looking to shift the project’s focus. According to some reports, Apple in recent months has decided against releasing an Apple branded car and is instead doubling down on developing self-driving car technology. If this is indeed the case, it would obviously explain the impetus behind the aforementioned job cuts.
Of course, the overarching question is if anything will ultimately result from Apple’s car-oriented research efforts. Even if Apple tightens up its focus on developing self-driving car technologies, that particular field is already highly competitive as car manufacturers are seemingly keen on developing their own in-house solutions rather than looking to third-party offerings from the likes of Apple. That said, it’s hard to see what Apple will be able to bring to the table when companies like Tesla and Mercedes are already making so much progress in the area.