Apple 'Reboots' Self-Driving Car Initiative Amid Project Layoffs and Closures

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has closed parts of its self-driving car project and laid off dozens of employees attached to it as it reboots its plan for self-driving vehicles, according to The New York Times. The move comes just over a month after the company reportedly began shifting its car project to autonomous driving systems rather than vehicles under Bob Mansfield.


    Mansfield, a longtime Apple executive who was previously Vice President of Technologies, was appointed to oversee the car project in late July, adjusting the project to focus on the "underlying technology" for autonomous vehicles rather than actually building an automobile. The layoffs, according to The New York Times, are part of the strategic shift of the project.
    Apple had made some progress in the development of Project Titan, the codename for its car project, having a number of self-driving vehicles in testing. The cars were tested with simple, limited operating routes in closed environments, but the technology was far from ready for primetime, reports The New York Times.

    The Cupertino company had recruited hundreds of engineers from Tesla, Ford, GM, other car companies and employees in other divisions of Apple to work on its car project, growing the Apple Car team to nearly 1,000 members.

    Earlier this year, Steve Zadesky, former Ford engineer and VP of Product Design, left the company for personal reasons. He had been in charge of the project and reported to Dan Riccio, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering. Rumors have suggested that the departure of Zadesky resulted in delays of the project and internal strife due to challenges like unattainable timelines and organizational changes. The original launch target for the Apple Car was said to be in 2020, but changes and delays to the project had caused it to slip into 2021.

    Article Link: Apple 'Reboots' Self-Driving Car Initiative Amid Project Layoffs and Closures
  2. falainber macrumors 65816


    Mar 16, 2016
    Wild West
    I guess computer company may not be the most natural place for developing cars.
  3. BrodieApple macrumors 6502


    Aug 16, 2015
    I always imagine a solar powered Apple Car. But that wont happen
  4. coolX macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2016
    Elon was right! Think of all them fools who left Tesla for Apple! I hope he don't let them back!
  5. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    If they have any shot at arriving at something useful in such a different area, they MUST be able and willing to change course and even cancel pet projects. All those NOs matter as much as the one Yes!

    Think how many successful innovations can say, "boring story, really--we got everything right the first time, every step of the way!"
  6. zahuh macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2004
    After iPhone 7 and crapple watch, I don't know how much I believe in Apple anymore.
  7. ILuvEggplant Suspended


    Jul 28, 2016
    Los Angeles, CA
    This new move makes more sense.

    Why make a car ; develop the system then charge the Apple tax = profit
  8. Shookster macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2009
    Writing the backend code that no-one sees seems such a strange fit for Apple. Their products are normally user-facing where the UI and UX is emphasized (not to mention the Apple logo). If they want to get into the automotive world they would be better off developing something people can actually see, like an in-car entertainment system. That would be playing to Apple's strengths a lot more.
  9. jdillings, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016

    jdillings macrumors 68000

    Jun 21, 2015
    I heard Zadesky left after Schiller told him to be courageous and remove the wheels from the Apple car. Schiller told him, "Maintaining ancient, single-purpose wheels doesn't make sense because that space is at a premium on a car".
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    A rumoured project that was rumoured to be building momentum is now rumoured to have hit a hiccup.

    "Yeah! That'll teach you, Apple!"

  11. now i see it, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016

    now i see it macrumors 68030

    Jan 2, 2002
    It's hard to imagine any car company using Apple's potential future automous technology to control their vehicle.
    It's one thing to incorporate CarPlay entertainment in a car, quite another to give the keys to the car to Apple. I can never see this happening.
  12. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I can understand Apple wanting to provide the software for existing cars, but Apple selling a car always made about as much sense to me as BMW getting into the personal computer business. Good to see they may have wised up and dropped this idea.
  13. StevenPG macrumors member


    Nov 1, 2012
    I always thought it would be an edition car. Like a BMW Apple model. Or Ford Apple model. That has certain aspect that Apple would provide. Whatever those might be.
  14. al256 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2001
    So with the iPhone Apple controls the hardware and the software, and unlike most other phone manufactures they even control the CPU architecture. Heck, I left out the App Store which Apple also controls.

    The only product I can recall Apple ever developing that became an underlying system for others to use would be WebObjects. Dell used to rely on this software to help run their online store.

    But where else has Apple ever done something so 3rd party?
  15. musika macrumors 65816


    Sep 2, 2010
    New York
    I would love to see them kill the whole project. Show that you have enough courage to not be scared into every single market.
  16. mistasopz, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016

    mistasopz macrumors 6502

    Apr 14, 2006
    I think you mean i-Toy company. I wonder what their severance packages were like. "Sorry guys, you're fired, but the bright side is that we'll throw in a free apple watch wrist band."
  17. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    So basically they know nothing other than apparently some people were laid off.
  18. mpavilion macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2014
    SFV, CA, USA
    I don't understand why Apple wants to "play" in this space. So many others already are, from Google to Tesla to Uber to the major carmakers.
  19. JPSaltzman macrumors regular


    Jun 5, 2011
    "And as you leave the Apple premises, don't forget to please pickup your complimentary Apple Watchband." (AppleWatch Series I not included.)
  20. lcseds macrumors 6502a

    Jun 20, 2006
    NC, USA
    Shut it down and concentrate on the core business that once made you the greatest.
    This is like McDonalds going into house building.
  21. bozzykid macrumors 68020

    Aug 11, 2009
    It isn't a rumor that many of the people on the project were let go.
  22. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    They haven't which is why I think it's odd that people think it makes more sense for them to build underlying technology for other manufacturers to use. Let's face it what Apple does best is integration of hardware and software into a cohesive product. If they don't think they can do that in the car space I think they should kill the project all together. Software wise what could Apple bring to the table that others aren't already working on (and probably have better expertise at)? Autonomous and self driving vehicles are about A LOT more than what the UI of the car dashboard looks like. I do find it interesting though that if Apple is shifting focus to car software they brought in a veteran hardware engineer to oversee it.
  23. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.

    You've never heard of Ronald McDonald House?
  24. xnu, Sep 9, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016

    xnu macrumors 6502


    Jul 15, 2004
    I really hope they concentrate on the tech that goes into a car and let other manufactures make actual automobiles. Sorry I have little faith they would be a force in the auto industry. Perhaps buy Tesla if they want to, but a car seems like such a distraction from so many other opportunities.
  25. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Sure because personal computers are really on an upward trajectory sales wise. :rolleyes:

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