A slew of Apple auto engineers reportedly left to join the self-driving car startup Zoox

A group of 17 engineers who worked on Apple’s car project have left to join the self-driving startup Zoox, according to a Bloomberg report published Wednesday.

The engineers departed the company after the tech giant abandoned plans to build its own car and decided to instead develop a self-driving system, according to the report, which cited sources familiar with the matter.

Apple reportedly scaled back its car efforts last year and in June, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the company was instead focusing on creating a self-driving system. It’s possible the iPhone maker plans to licence its autonomous technology to automakers instead of eventually creating its own self-driving vehicle.

The engineers snagged by Zoox specialised in systems that are needed in both traditional automobiles and autonomous vehicles, like braking systems, according to Bloomberg.

Zoox aims to create a fleet of autonomous vehicles for urban areas. The company got its permit to start testing self-driving cars in California in March 2016 and has raised more than $US250 million, according to Bloomberg.

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