Apple has dismissed 200 employees working in its self-driving car unit, some of the employees have been reassigned to work more broadly on artificial intelligence and machine learning. It looks like the iPhone-maker is shifting its focus to general AI to catch up with its rivals, Google and Amazon.
Apple started its self-driving car unit, named “Titan” in 2015 but hasn’t shown any results of the project publically. Several of the project vehicles were seen on California streets, however, unlike many hoped, they were not vehicles produced by Apple. Later the company CEO confirmed that its focus in self-driving cars were AI and sensors.
Since then, however, Apple has fallen behind Google and Amazon in AI assistants and that could have a significantly adverse effect on its main product, iPhone (although not much was known about Titan, it was also behind its competitors that are ramping up test miles all over the world and already launching commercial services). So the focus shift is somewhat understandable, although the company will have a hard time reconciling AI with its main principle of data privacy — the main reason Google and Amazon are so ahead in the race is due to their massive data collection practices, while privacy is one of the main selling points of Apple.
Waymo to build self-driving car factory in Detroit
Waymo will be investing $13.6 million to revamp a facility that will outfit its self-driving cars in the Detroit area. The company will get an additional $8 million from the state. Michigan already has more connected and automated vehicle projects than other states in the US.
According to the company, this will be the first factory in the world dedicated to building Level 4 autonomous vehicles. It plans to employ around 400 workers at the factory.
Daimler-BMW joint venture to be called Jurbey
The new joint venture between Daimler and BMW mobility services will operate under the name “Jurbey”, according to sources. The new venture is expected to be unveiled at the end of February. A trademark for Jurbey was filed in August last year for “software for providing information on transportation services and arranging contracts for the provision of transportation services”.
The merger of Daimler and BMW mobility services — DriveNow and car2go, myTaxi, Chauffeur Prive, Clever Taxi, Beat, ParkNow, and Parkmobile, ChargeNow and Digital Charging Solutions, Moovel and ReachNow — was approved by the European Commission in November of the last year.