Updated February 28th, 2024 at 13:43 IST

Apple dumps electric car project Titan after decade-long R&D

Shares of Apple saw a 0.7% increase in afternoon trading, rebounding slightly from earlier losses in the session.

Reported by: Business Desk
Apple electric car project | Image:Apple
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Apple electric car project: Apple has terminated its work on an electric car project, marking the end of a decade-long effort by the tech giant, news agency Reuters reported quoting a source familiar with the matter.

Shares of Apple saw a 0.7 per cent increase in afternoon trading, rebounding slightly from earlier losses in the session. Reports from Bloomberg News suggest that several employees involved in the electric car initiative will be reassigned to Apple's artificial intelligence (AI) division.

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Commenting on the development, Ben Bajarin, CEO of consulting firm Creative Strategies, stated, "If it is true, Apple will put more focus on GenAI and that should give investors more optimism about the company's efforts and ability to compete at a platform level on AI."

Apple's move towards AI comes at a time when other tech behemoths like Alphabet and Microsoft have been aggressively integrating AI technologies into their platforms, gaining a significant advantage in the field.

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Apple, however, declined to provide any official comment on the matter.

The decision to halt the electric car project comes amid a challenging economic environment, with high interest rates aimed at curbing inflation dampening consumer sentiment and leading to a slowdown in demand for electric vehicles, typically priced higher than traditional automobiles. This has resulted in job cuts and production reductions across the industry.

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In response to market conditions, several major automakers, including EV market leader Tesla, have scaled back investments, with some redirecting efforts towards hybrid vehicles rather than fully battery-powered cars.

Apple's electric car project, internally known as Project Titan, was initiated a decade ago amid a surge of interest in self-driving vehicles within Silicon Valley.

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Previous reports from Reuters in 2020 had suggested that Apple was considering a vehicle launch as early as 2024 or 2025. However, progress had been inconsistent even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the global automotive industry.

In 2019, Apple laid off 190 employees from the Project Titan group following a revamp of its software strategy. Additionally, the design of the envisioned car changed over the years, evolving from a radical, steering-wheel-free autonomous vehicle to a more conventional car equipped with advanced driver-assistance features.

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(With Reuters inputs.)
 

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 08:40 IST