Top executive departures indicate a hard start to Apple Car project

There’s been a revolving door of executives at Apple tied to the company’s autonomous car project. Apple is constantly trying to define its next big product, and autonomous vehicle tech has been in the skunkworks in Cupertino since 2014. Apple has hundreds of engineers working on self-driving tech as well as a group working on an actual vehicle, per Bloomberg.

High-profile departures and hundreds of employee layoffs point to strife within the AV division. Departures from the top of the car group include Dave Scott who was the lead on robotics, Jaime Waydo who led autonomous car safety and regulation, and Benjamin Lyon, the proponent of the Apple Car project who left in February. Apple also laid off 200 employees connected to the AV division in 2019. Conversely, Apple has been actively recruiting automotive executives, namely from EV market leader Tesla.

Apple has been testing self-driving vehicles on public roads in California since 2017 using SUVs outfitted with sensors and cameras.