Apple tapping brakes on self-driving cars

September 10, 2016
Apple fueled speculation about its automotive ambitions this year with a billion-dollar investment in Chinese ride-sharing powerhouse Didi Chuxing

Apple is tapping the brakes on its self-driving car project as it maps a new route, The New York Times reported.

The Silicon Valley-based technology colossus has closed parts of the endeavor, which it never publicly confirmed, and laid off dozens of workers as part of a "reboot," the Times said, citing people briefed on the matter.

The team at what Apple named project Titan had grown to more than a thousand people but ran into problems, including showing what it could do differently from other companies working on the technology, according to the Times.

Apple fueled speculation about its automotive ambitions this year with a billion-dollar investment in Chinese ride-sharing powerhouse Didi Chuxing.

Apple downshifting on Titan comes after pumping resources into it for two years, according to the Times. It also comes as Tesla, major carmakers and rival Google rev investments in autonomous vehicles.

Google parent Alphabet and San Francisco-based Uber have both been working on getting self-driving cars on roads.

Uber plans to deploy for its ride-sharing services in Pittsburgh, pushing the envelope for the use of self-driving technology.

At the same time, Uber announced two other moves to further solidify itself as a trailblazer in driverless cars.

It established a $300 million venture with Chinese-owned, Sweden-based Volvo Cars to develop self-driving cars for sale by 2021.

And Uber is buying Otto, a San Francisco startup developing self-driving commercial trucks.

Uber and Volvo were two of the founding members of a coalition unveiled in April to push for a unified US legal code on —a group that also includes Google, carmaker Ford and Uber rival Lyft.

Autonomous cars are among big-vision ideas pursued by Google's X Lab.

Google has driven its autonomous cars some 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) with only some minor dustups.

Early this year, the company announced plans for its self-driving car program to put down roots in the Detroit area with a technology center.

The facility will house engineers and others testing vehicles provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Alphabet said at the time.

The tech giant began testing its autonomous driving technology in 2009 using a Toyota Prius equipped with Google equipment.

It now has some 70 vehicles, including Lexus cars, adapted by Google in addition to its in-house designed cars unveiled in 2014.

Explore further: Volvo and Uber form driverless car venture

Related Stories

Volvo and Uber form driverless car venture

August 18, 2016

Sweden-based manufacturer Volvo Cars said on Thursday it would team up with ride-sharing service Uber in a $300 million (265 million euro) joint venture to develop driverless automobiles.

Self-driving car race sees flurry of partnerships

August 18, 2016

Uber announced Thursday that it will partner with Volvo to make autonomous vehicles. The tie-up is the latest between automakers and tech companies hoping to speed driverless cars to market. Here's a rundown of who's working ...

Uber unveils testing of self-driving car

May 19, 2016

Uber unveiled its first self-driving car on Thursday, announcing it had begun testing an autonomous vehicle on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

February 15, 2019

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.