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190 employees in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale victims of automatic dismissal of Apple cars



Apple will lay off 190 employees in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale in its autonomous car division, the company said.

The layoffs were disclosed, along with new details, in a letter this month to the California Department of Employment Development. CNBC reported last month that layoffs were underway in the autonomous car division, known as Project Titan. Tom Neumayr, a spokesman for Apple, confirmed that the letter to the state referred to the same layoffs.

Most of the employees involved are engineers, including 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers, and 22 software engineers. Layoffs will come into effect on April 16, depending on the file.

Apple's expansion in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, close to the company's headquarters in Cupertino, accelerated from 2014, based on property records and previous information. It was the same year, the autonomous driving division was founded.

The layoffs coincide with the fall in iPhone sales. Revenues fell 15% in the last three months of 2018. An economic slowdown in China also harms Apple's business.

"A sudden and significant drop in iPhone revenues causes a level of distress at Apple that forces it to make tough choices," wrote Lynx Equity Strategies in an analyst report released on the month last in which he speculated that the division of autonomous cars could be closed. .

Previously, Apple had already removed hundreds of jobs in the autonomous car division by moving from building its own car to developing software, reported Bloomberg at the time. More recently, Apple has partnered with Volkswagen and is currently converting the German T6 Transporter van into a self-heating shuttle, the New York Times announced last year.

Apple's competitors in autonomous vehicles include General Motors' Cruise, Tesla and Waymo, a subsidiary of Google Alphabet.

Apple made 79,745 test miles in California between November 31, 2017 and December 1, 2018, well below two of the major competitors, Waymo from Mountain View and Cruise of San Francisco, according to DMV data published this year. month.

For the same period, Apple said that its autonomous system had an error or that a human driver was taking control every 1.1 km. In comparison, Waymo had a disengagement every 11,017 miles and Cruise had one every 5,204 miles.

In 2016, Apple had 25,000 employees in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The dismissals from Apple relate to eight office and industrial buildings: 3000 Kifer Road, 3689 Kifer Road, 5301 Patrick Henry Drive, 2945 San Ysidro Way and 2975 San Ysidro Way in Santa Clara, as well as 1150 Kifer Road, 1170 Kifer Road and 195 N Wolfe Road in Sunnyvale.

Roland Li is a Chronicle writer. Email: roland.li@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @rolandlisf


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