Apple Cuts Over 600 Jobs After Dropping Self-Driving Car Plans

Apple has laid off over 600 employees, following reports that it has abandoned its self-driving car plans.

The largest number of job cuts is linked to the facility in California that was focused on the now-canceled self-driving car initiative, according to Bloomberg.

On March 28, the California Department of Employment was notified that 614 employees would be dismissed in May. Requests for comments have been made to Apple.

Unlike other companies that have implemented significant layoffs in the aftermath of the pandemic, Apple has managed to avoid such measures.

In an interview with CNBC in May of the previous year, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook mentioned that layoffs would be a “last resort.”

So far in 2024, the technology sector has seen over 50,000 layoffs, as reported by the tracker

Several notable companies, including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Snap, and PayPal, have announced reductions in 2024.

Yet, Apple’s number of layoffs is considerably less in comparison to its industry counterparts. Apple’s global workforce totals approximately 161,000 employees, as reported by GlobalData.

Apple holds the title of the most valuable company globally, yet industry analyst Paolo Pescatore from PP Foresight cautions, “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.

Initial reports of Apple discontinuing its extensive investment in the autonomous car project surfaced in February. The company, however, has not officially confirmed the project’s existence.

Apple is said to have allocated billions in research and development for a fully autonomous car lacking a steering wheel and pedals, yet the production of such a vehicle seemed far off.

Other manufacturers, such as Ford and General Motors, have also decelerated their autonomous vehicle research efforts due to escalating costs.

Reports indicate Apple plans to reassign a significant portion of its 2,000-member electric car team to artificial intelligence initiatives.

A separate report in the California employment filings reveals that Apple terminated 121 positions at its San Diego office in January.

Bloomberg reports that this team was engaged in AI research, with employees being offered relocation to Austin, Texas.