Apple to lay-off 190 people from self-driving program

Apple has confirmed that it will axe 190 employees from its self-driving program, codenamed Project Titan, Reuters reported on Wednesday (Feb.27th).

In a regulatory filing, the iPhone maker said it plans to lay off staff from eight different sites in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, close to the firm’s Cupertino headquarters, on the 16th of April.

Affected roles

The affected roles include at least two dozen software engineers, including a machine learning engineer, and 40 hardware engineers, according to a letter sent by Apple to California employment regulators earlier this month.

Three product design engineers and an ergonomic engineer also face the axe, as does a machine shop supervisor.

“The layoffs appear to be the first major shake-up of Project Titan under Doug Field, who returned to Apple last year as Vice President of Special Projects after a stint at electric car maker Tesla Inc,” Reuters noted.

Apple’s spokesperson confirmed the lay off was from Apple’s self-driving car program. Last month, according to a CNBC report, the Cupertino-based firm dismissed 200 staff workers from Project Titan as part of its restructuring plan for the unit.

For years, we’ve heard rumours about Project Titan, but Apple has remained tight-lipped about its self-driving car.

Self-driving program

Only around 5,000 of Apple’s 140,000 full-time workers are involved in the car project on a “need-to-know” basis, and of those, only about 120,000 are “core” employees that are “directly working on the development of the project,” Reuters reported, citing documents from an ongoing trade secret criminal case against a former Apple employee.

Despite the number of workers being laid off, Reuters said the firm appears to have ramped up it’s testing on California roads.

Earlier this month, the company said it had logged nearly 80,000 miles of testing in California in 2018, compared to 1,000 testing miles in 2017.

It was, however, far less than Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo unit, which logged around 1.2 million miles in California in 2018.

 

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