Apple Lays Off 190 Workers In Autonomous Auto Division
Apple has been working on technology for autonomous automobiles for several years now. Early on, rumors suggested that Apple would launch its own car, but those plans were rumored to have changed in 2016 when it turned its focus to autonomous auto software. A more recent report has claimed that an Apple car would launch by 2023. Whatever Apple is working on, it has a ways to go on its technology as a recent California DMV report listed Apple dead last in autonomous car disengagements.
Apple has been very secretive about its work, but filings made with the recent round of layoffs shed some light on what Apple is whipping up. Apple announced that it was laying off 190 employees in its autonomous auto division. The workers were scattered around eight different Santa Clara County facilities near Apple's Cupertino headquarters.
Regulatory filings made by Apple show that among the 190 people let go, there were at least 24 software engineers, a machine learning engineer, and 40 hardware engineers. Also among the layoffs were three product design engineers and an ergonomics engineer. Apple's filings also list a machine shop supervisor among those let go; it's unclear how many machinists Apple employs and if those machinists were making parts for autonomous cars or parts for other products. It seems that most of the workers that are being let go had to do with making hardware, Apple has reportedly switched gears to software rather than hardware for the autonomous market.
A few other details surfaced about Apple's Project Titan autonomous auto initiative when Apple filed suit against a former employee for alleged theft of trade secrets. In those documents, Apple says that Project Titan is a need-to-know project and has about 5,000 employees working on it, with 1,200 of those dubbed core employees working directly on the development of the project.