Advertisement

Apple shelves major self-driving electric car project and lays off staff after multibillion dollar investment – report

Apple shelves major self-driving electric car project and lays off staff after multibillion dollar investment – report

Apple is reportedly planning to shut shop on its long-announced multibillion-dollar autonomous electric car project.

Bloomberg reported citing sources within the tech giant that many staff involved in developing the ambitious vehicle are now being moved to work on the company’s generative artificial intelligence projects.

It remains unclear how many of the staff would be laid off as Apple also had several hundred hardware engineers and vehicle designers working on the project.

Apple did not immediately respond to The Independent’s request for comment.

The tech giant had been secretly developing the self-driving electric car project for years before company chief Tim Cook hinted in 2017 that Apple was working on “autonomous systems”, calling it “the mother of all AI projects”.

The exact nature of Apple’s rumoured car design has changed over the years from hints that the company was either building an entirely autonomous vehicle or just the technology powering it.

Patents filed by the iPhone maker suggested the car could have Siri integration, a customisable driver dashboard, and “adaptive doors”.

While patents may not guarantee that a feature was incorporated, details hinted that Apple was likely attempting to completely change the traditional car dashboard.

The company was also reportedly attempting to use “next level” battery technology in its car project.

Reuters reported in 2020 citing people close to the matter that Apple was planning to use a new battery design to “radically” reduce cost and increase the vehicle’s range.

Mr Cook too maintained secrecy of the project for many years, adding at times that parts of the project may only be experimental tests within the company.

“We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day. I’m not saying that one will not,” he said in a 2021 interview.

Tesla chief Elon Musk appeared to celebrate Apple’s decision to scrap the project, sharing a post of the news with a saluting emoji and a cigarette.