Apple hits the brakes on plan to build its own cars

Apple hits the brakes on plan to build its own cars
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Apple is scaling back its plans to develop self-driving vehicles with hundreds of members of its automotive team leaving or transferring to other projects.

For now, the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant plans to partner with carmakers instead of pushing ahead to develop its own car, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday.

According to the report, Apple executives will make their final decision late next year on the electric car initiative, known internally as Project Titan. It's possible that the company could revive efforts to design its own car in the future.

Anonymous sources confirmed the changes to Bloomberg. Apple has not officially commented on the matter. The project suffered internal conflict as managers battled to define Titan’s direction.

“It was an incredible failure of leadership,” a source told Bloomberg.

The New York Times previously reported on Apple’s growing hesitancy on pursuing self-driving car technologies. The company reportedly laid off dozens of employees on Project Titan.

Apple founded the project in 2014 as tech companies eyed the rapid advance of autonomous car technology and ride-hailing companies like Uber, which boasted valuations over $40 billion.

Google was also developing its own self-driving car technologies, but the Mountain View, Calif., company's effort has also endured its own setbacks with employees leaving for rivals.

Despite mishaps for major tech players, others in the industry are more confident.

Ford, BMW and ride-sharing service Lyft have promised autonomous cars by 2021. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is more conservative in his estimates. Kalanick thinks Uber’s fleet will be autonomous by 2030.

Other experts are less optimistic.

“These statements are aspirations, they’re not really reality,” Raj Rajkumar, a professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who collaborates with General Motors, told The Wall Street Journal. “The technology just isn’t there. ... There’s still a long way to go before we can take the driver away from the driver’s seat.”