Apple just killed its electric car project, shifting focus to generative AI

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

Apple is canceling considered one of its open secret tasks — constructing an autonomous electric car, and shifting a lot of the 2,000 workers engaged on it to focus on generative AI efforts as a substitute. 

The inside announcement was made by Apple COO Jeff Williams and an Apple vice chairman main the electric car mission, Kevin Lynch, in accordance to a report by Bloomberg. 

Also: The most jaw-dropping demo at MWC was from a model I wasn’t anticipating to see

Apple’s AI group is led by John Giannandrea, an Apple government who’s been reportedly targeted on generative AI endeavors for the previous couple of years, together with the event of enormous language mannequin functions (LLMs) like AI chatbots (suppose, ChatGPT). 

Not all workers shall be so fortunate, as Bloomberg says there shall be layoffs. TechCrunch studies some have already been let go, but it surely’s unclear how many individuals shall be laid off. Aside from software program engineers and workers working intently with AI, the “Special Projects Group” or SPG, as Apple referred to as its electric car group, additionally included {hardware} and automotive engineers, who might or will not be in a position to apply for different jobs inside the firm. 

Apple’s electric car endeavors started in 2014, and the corporate has reportedly invested a number of billions of {dollars} into each absolutely autonomous automobiles and electric automobiles to compete with Tesla and others. 

Its most up-to-date launch, the Apple Vision Pro, is a mixed-reality headset and its first new product class for the reason that launch of Apple Watch in 2015. Vision Pro has gotten the corporate a number of consideration for its futuristic and progressive nature. 

Also: Apple Vision Pro evaluation: Fascinating, flawed, and wishes to repair 5 issues

Apple has been notably absent within the generative AI increase over over the previous 12 months for the reason that launch of ChatGPT. The firm hasn’t launched exceptional generative AI expertise in the course of the rise in recognition of genAI, not even whereas its largest opponents, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung, all have rivaled OpenAI’s ChatGPT with completely different generative AI expertise developments. 

Some studies in July indicated Apple is engaged on an AI chatbot of its personal, used internally and often known as Apple GPT, which runs on a proprietary foundational mannequin. While Apple has been largely quiet about incorporating generative AI into its gadgets, we’re possible to see no less than some new genAI options showcased at this 12 months’s WWDC in June.

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