Apple to Cancel Long-Term EV Project in Favour of AI

According to Bloomberg’s report, resources from the project will be moved to focus on generative AI (Gen AI) projects at Apple
According to multiple reports, tech giant Apple is phasing out its self-driving electric car project to refocus efforts on the AI division of its business

Ten years after Apple commenced its electric vehicle (EV) project, sources suggest the initiative has been cancelled.

First reported by Bloomberg, several key employees working on the project will allegedly be moved to Apple’s AI division to facilitate better digital growth.

The project, widely referred to as Project Titan, has seen uneven progress throughout its life and its end comes as global automakers cut back their investments in electric vehicles, whose demand has dropped significantly. Whilst Apple has not yet confirmed the use, the decision would make sense in the current EV market, which is seeing a greater shift towards AI strategies.

What is Project Titan?

Having been approved more than a decade ago, Project Titan was developed to capitalise on the growing interest in EV at the time. In fact, it was initially expected that the company would launch its first vehicles as soon as 2024 or 2025, but in January 2024 the launch date was pushed to be no later than 2028.

More recent reports have suggested that the project struggled to get off the ground, with billions of dollars spent on research and development, including changing its software approach and car design. 

Apple was also initially rumoured to be working on a fully autonomous vehicle without a steering wheel and pedals, which would have been radically different to a conventional car. With the iPhone’s original success, it was considered that Apple Car would treat its vehicles much like a digital device.

Global EV demand has been declining in recent months, with customers turning away on account of higher prices and charging challenges. As a result, the market has become incredibly competitive as leading figures like Tesla, Polestar and Xpeng seek to expand their customer base.

US-based motor companies such as Ford and General Motors have also recently halted new EV shipments and are planning to pause further production. Additionally, our sister publication EV Magazine reported in 2023 that Tesla is in fact streamlining its EV production to create a more efficient manufacturing process.

Enterprise shuffle to prioritise AI services

According to Bloomberg’s report, resources from the project will be moved to focus on generative AI (Gen AI) projects at Apple.

Given that AI is developing at such a rapid pace, plenty of businesses are scrambling to align their developments with the technology in order to remain competitive in the technology sector.

It has been widely speculated that Apple has not been quick off the mark when it comes to major AI innovations. In fact, the company was recently overtaken by Microsoft as the most valuable company worldwide, highlighting that the iPhone-maker could be struggling to keep up with AI innovation efforts.

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“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,” Ben Bajarin, CEO of consulting firm Creative Strategies tells Reuters.

Other competitor companies like OpenAI and Google have been making plenty of AI-related announcements in recent weeks, with Google in particular having rebranded its chatbot model Bard to Gemini.

Having debuted its first headset, Apple Vision Pro, earlier this month (February 2024), time will tell if Apple will continue to commit to AI growth in the future.

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