Apple has relieved more than 200 employees from its secretive Project Titan self-driving operation, reports suggest.

On Thursday, CNBC first reported about the move citing an Apple spokesperson who confirmed the cuts in a statement. The spokesperson stated that the company will focus on other projects and areas in 2019 where some groups were moved to. Meanwhile, it still believes that “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.”

apple titan project

At its inception, Project Titan was widely speculated to be Apple’s attempt to build its own car and autonomous driving software.

Last year, Tesla vice-president of engineering Doug Field stepped down from his position to rejoin Apple where he previously worked. Reports suggest that the company views the layoffs as a part of an anticipated restructuring under the new leadership. Apple has been tight-lipped about the number of employees that will be transferred to other projects and those who will leave the company.

At its inception, Project Titan was widely speculated to be Apple’s attempt to build its own car and autonomous driving software. However, it shifted focus a few times in the past few years and went dormant after managers pulled the team in too many directions eroding morale. In the past few years, it is understood that the company has been focussing majorly on self-driving software and not a physical car. This is, however, contrary to a few patents as well as the recent hiring of a former Tesla designer when once again rumours of a physical car were reignited.

waymo minivan

In June 2018, Apple also hired an ex-Waymo engineer to lend a hand in its self-driving car technology.

In June 2018, Apple also hired an ex-Waymo engineer to lend a hand in its self-driving car technology. The California-based company will contend with numerous other companies which are competing in the futuristic tech. In the current scenario, Google’s Waymo and General Motors’ Cruise Automation are seen as the two major players in the self-driving car space.