News website Bloomberg reports that Apple refocused its secretive Project Titan. Instead of building a complete car, Apple changed its efforts to develop a self-driving car platform. The project originally aimed to get a part of a automotive market that is expected to raise to 6.7 trillion Dollar in 2030. At the same time an Apple car was supposed to revolutionize the car market like the iPhone did for phones in 2007.
But efforts have been stopped. Hundreds of employees from Project Titan that reached a headcount of over 1,000 were either assigned to other projects, left the company or were laid off. Latter group included 120 software engineers who developed automotive software and test routines. A few hundred employees responsible for chassis and frame development returned to former employers in the automotive industry (we reported on that in the past). The remaining engineers now work on sensors, algorithms and test programs for autonomous vehicles.
The reason for scaling down the project – according to employees who would speak only in private – is bad management. End of 2015 it became clear that leading managers fought for the direction of the project. Another reason was the complexity of manufacturing a car and building a supply chain. While Apple was used to absolutely control the supply chain in electronic manufacturing for its electronic devices, suppliers in the automotive industry would not grant exclusivity due to the huge investments required.