April 14, 2024

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Reports say Apple is detailing its self-driving electric car project

Reports say Apple is detailing its self-driving electric car project

  • Written by Mariko Aoi
  • Business reporter

Image source, Getty Images

Apple has reportedly scrapped its plans to build electric vehicles (EV) after a decade of the iPhone maker being rumored to be working on the project.

The company has never publicly acknowledged the project, which involves about 2,000 people.

Many employees from the project will be transferred to the iPhone maker's artificial intelligence (AI) division, according to Bloomberg News.

Apple did not immediately respond to the BBC's request for comment.

Apple's automotive team was reportedly known as a special projects group as part of its CEO Tim Cook's Project Titan.

Having spent billions of dollars on research and development, the company was initially rumored to be working on a fully self-driving car without a steering wheel and pedals.

It was understood that the team was still years away from producing a car.

“This is a smart decision that is long overdue,” Ray Wang, founder and CEO of Silicon Valley-based consultancy Constellation Research, told the BBC.

“The market demand for EVs is not there, and AI is where all the action is,” he added.

Research firm Counterpoint highlighted that the decision came at a time when the market for artificial intelligence in consumer electronics is growing sharply.

“Preliminary data indicates that shipments of AI smartphones will exceed 100 million units in 2024,” said Evan Lam, the company’s chief analyst.

Counterpoint expects this number to reach more than 500 million by 2027.

In recent months, the giant American automakers Ford and General Motors have postponed their plans to expand the production of electric cars.

Last week, electric truck maker Rivian announced that it would reduce its workforce by 10%, and said it did not expect any growth in its production this year.

The company, led by billionaire Elon Musk, has been cutting prices in key markets around the world, including Europe and China, where it faces intense competition from Chinese rivals such as BYD.