The long-awaited Apple car looks likely to be cancelled before a single vehicle hits the road. Large numbers of engineers at Apple have apparently been moved off the project and on to other teams at the company, or forced out altogether.
Sources close to Bloomberg said that there have already been hundreds of job cuts in the car development programme, dubbed Project Titan internally at the company.
Apple is instead realigning its efforts to develop autonomous driving software, which will enable the firm to work with an existing car manufacturer or possibly return to developing its own vehicle at some point in the future.
Reports have suggested that the decision to axe development of a car, while likely, is not yet certain, and that a deadline in 2017 has been set for the final call.
Apple engineer Bob Mansfield, the designer behind the Apple Watch and MacBook Air, has apparently been unable to achieve the same level of success with the car project.
BMW and Daimler decided earlier this year not to partner with Apple on an autonomous car project, citing privacy concerns over the use of customer data.
Technology entrepreneur Elon Musk's Tesla is viewed by many as a leader in the autonomous vehicle field, although it too has encountered problems. The manufacturer was recently banned in Germany from advertising its vehicles as having an autopilot feature following several high-profile accidents.
The country's regulators declared the term to be misleading, since the cars do not actually drive themselves and the driver is expected to keep his or her hands on the steering wheel at all times.
A recent survey by the London School of Economics found that the majority of UK drivers would be uncomfortable using a driverless car that did not have front seats and a steering wheel.
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