Apple Inc.'s AAPL ambition to develop an Apple car could be in jeopardy, as the company is reportedly losing key personnel from its self-driving unit in droves.
What Happened: The Apple Car project has been in incubation for a while, and since late last year rumors of Cupertino stepping on the gas pedal have been floating around. Several potential partners were reported on, but Apple remained tightlipped about its foray into the crowded EV field.
Now it has emerged that the company is facing an altogether different challenge of retaining executives at the self-driving unit.
Dave Scott, who was leading the robotics team at the unit, recently quit rto join health care company Hyperfine, Bloomberg reported. Other executives who have left the Apple Car project include Jaime Waydo, who was heading the autonomous car safety and regulation team; and Benjamin Lyon, who was a key member of the original Apple Car team, the report said.
Apple has added to its car team over the past few years, having recruited top Tesla, Inc. TSLA executives and other auto industry veterans, Bloomberg said.
Signaling its focus on the project, the company has also moved in key executives who have developed key Apple products.
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Why It's Important: Apple, which initially set sights on a full-fledged car, is now focusing on developing an underlying self-driving car system.
TF Securities' Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had said in December that an Apple Car is unlikely before 2025.
"Due to changes in the EV/self-driving market and Apple's high quality standards, we would not be surprised if Apple Car's launch schedule is postponed to 2028 or later," Kuo reportedly said.
Apple shares were up 0.71% at $125.16 at press time.
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