Project Titan, a self-driving car skunkworks effort of Apple, has been firm’s most unpredictable division for years. It has undergone workers and leadership changes as many times as the firm’s Siri team. These days, Titan is up with one more recruitment shakeup: Apple said yesterday that 200 workers were fired from the project, with few going towards “other initiatives” in the firm, and also in machine learning.
The firm confirmed the news after CNBC sources revealed the firings that were told to be internally expected, after Apple hired Doug Field, the previous Tesla engineering VP, for leading Project Titan in August 2018, together with Bob Mansfield, SVP of Apple’s “special projects” for long. Apple has formerly recruited Titan up and down, comprising the main round of 2016’s dismissals. However, according to reports, it preserves both a private automotive tech’s database and an amazingly big team.
Whereas Apple has presented important clarification for the multi-year effort, leaks have proposed that the firm first planned to launch an innovative autonomous car but then shifted towards components for self-driving vehicles and narrower systems. Publicly, Apple has only accepted the former aspect of its plans and preserved the same standard of disclosure in this statement about the firings:
“We have an incredibly talented team working on autonomous systems and associated technologies at Apple. As the team focuses their work on several key areas for 2019, some groups are being moved to projects in other parts of the company, where they will support machine learning and other initiatives, across all of Apple. We continue to believe there is a huge opportunity with autonomous systems, that Apple has unique capabilities to contribute, and that this is the most ambitious machine learning project ever.”
Previously, Apple created and debuted the Core ML iOS machine learning framework and released an open-access ML journal to publish some of its results. However, its public-facing work is mostly about a text, photo, Siri, or facial recognition tech, Project Titan could turn out into something big if its innovations ever turned into a real Apple product.
So far, the firm has been experimenting many self-driving vehicles utilizing its tech, along with developing worker shuttles with autonomous abilities. A specific challenge for Apple is a widespread actual-world testing before launching any vehicular tech as it has a mythical fascination with keeping the new product releases a secret.