The shift away from the much-expected Apple Car project comes in the wake of disagreements over strategy, fluctuating leadership and issues with the company's supply chain, the report says. The company will no longer build its own auto, instead focusing on the software that could make autonomous vehicles a reality.
Hundreds of employees that were on the Project Titan vehicle team have be reassigned, let go, or left over recent months. If Apple's vehicle team can't build a promising demo before the end of 2017, then the company will cancel the project.
With all the time and monies spent on the development of the Apple Car, it would be hard to define any success out of exclusively a licensing contract.
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Sandoval said that it's "truly exciting" to get a deal done because of how many stakeholders were at the table during deliberations.
The tech giant has relocated or laid off roughly a 1,000 employees who were working on the project, according to a Bloomberg report citing sources. A self-driving system would of course be significantly more complicated than a touchscreen interface, but Apple partnering with a major automotive brand does seem more logical than an Apple-branded vehicle. Google has been working on autonomous cars for years, more and more traditional auto companies are working on autonomous vehicles, and even Uber has plans for an autonomous auto by the 2020s.
But at a recent meeting, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, said the automotive industry is undergoing a drastic change and seemed to confirm the existence of the vehicle project. Another staff shake-up indicated the change in direction for the "Titan" project. Furthermore, the company's executive team has imposed a deadline of the end of 2017 to determine the viability of that system. For much of previous year, there was no clear direction in the company's work, according to insiders. The New York Times reported in September that Apple had cut dozens of employees from Titan.
After about two years of steady speculation, it now looks as if the mysterious Apple Car will never actually make it to the road.