Published on February 27, 2024, 6:18 pm

Apple has recently made a significant decision to discontinue its project on an autonomous electric car, redirecting the efforts of around 2,000 employees towards generative AI initiatives instead. The transition was announced internally by Apple’s COO Jeff Williams and Kevin Lynch, a key figure in the electric car project. This strategic shift underscores Apple’s commitment to advancing generative AI technologies under the leadership of John Giannandrea, who has been spearheading efforts in this domain for the past few years.

While many employees will be repositioned to focus on generative AI development, reports suggest that there will also be layoffs within the company. The impact of these layoffs is not yet fully clear, with TechCrunch mentioning that some employees have already been affected. Notably, the team working on the electric car project, known as the “Special Projects Group,” encompassed a diverse range of talents including software engineers, AI specialists, hardware engineers, and automotive experts.

Apple’s entry into the electric car sector dates back to 2014, with investments amounting to billions of dollars aimed at competing with industry players like Tesla. Despite this shift from the autonomous vehicle project, Apple continues its innovation journey with products like the Apple Vision Pro—a mixed-reality headset that marks a significant advancement since the launch of Apple Watch in 2015.

In contrast to competitors who have made strides in generative AI technology such as Google and Microsoft, Apple has maintained a lower profile in this domain following the launch of ChatGPT. However, rumors suggest that Apple is developing its own AI chatbot called Apple GPT for internal use. With anticipation building up towards Apple’s possible unveiling of new generative AI features at WWDC in June, eyes are eagerly watching how Apple will position itself within this rapidly evolving technological landscape.

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