Apple cuts jobs following dropping self-driving car plans

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Apple has recently slashed over 600 jobs following reports of shelving its plans for a self-driving car.

The majority of these job reductions originate from the location of the facility in California, which was actively engaged in the now-abandoned self-driving car project, as per Bloomberg.

On March 28, the state’s employment department received notification that 614 employees would face layoffs in May.

Apple has been approached for comment on this matter.

Unlike several other firms that have implemented significant job cuts since the onset of the pandemic, the tech giant has managed to avoid mass layoffs in recent years.

In a CNBC interview last May, Apple CEO Tim Cook stated that layoffs would only be considered as a “last resort.”

According to layoffs.fyi, there have been over 50,000 job cuts within the industry in 2024 so far. Notable tech companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Snap, and PayPal have also announced job reductions this year.

However, compared to its competitors, Apple has laid off considerably fewer employees. GlobalData estimates its global workforce to be around 161,000.

Despite being the world’s most valuable company, industry analyst Paolo Pescatore of PP Foresight points out that “no one is immune to job cuts.”

“While this might seem significant given that it relates to Apple as one of the last big tech giants to make job cuts, it is not driven by the need for efficiencies,” says Mr Pescatore.

“It feels more like a shift of strategic focus into other new emerging areas like AI,” he adds.

Research slows down

Reports surfaced in February indicating that Apple was discontinuing its multi-billion-dollar investment in its self-driving car project. However, the company has never officially confirmed its existence.

Allegedly, Apple dedicated significant resources to research and develop a fully autonomous vehicle, devoid of a steering wheel and pedals. Despite this investment, the project was believed to be several years away from fruition.

Similar to Apple, other companies like Ford and General Motors have also scaled back their autonomous vehicle research endeavors due to escalating costs.

It was rumored that Apple intended to reassign many members of its 2,000-strong electric car team to focus on AI projects instead.

Additionally, a separate filing in the California jobs report revealed that in January, Apple terminated the employment of 121 workers at its San Diego office. According to Bloomberg, this team was engaged in AI-related work, and employees were encouraged to relocate to Austin, Texas.