April 18, 2024

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Apple CEO Tim Cook (2nd R) greets customers as he arrives for the release of the Vision Pro headset at the Apple Store in New York City on February 2, 2024.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Apple is exploring the development of personal home robots after ditching its electric vehicle project, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

Engineers at Apple have been looking into a robot that can follow users around their homes and a tabletop device that uses robotics to adjust a display screen, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the research team.

Apple in February shut down its team working on electric cars, called Special Projects Group, another one of its moonshots. Reports of the secretive program, which employed thousands of employees, first surfaced in 2014 after Apple recruited automotive engineers among others in relevant roles.

Apple’s car project was part of an internal effort to expand into new product markets. In recent years, the company has also invested heavily in products and services like its Apple Watch and Vision Pro virtual reality headset. The Vision Pro, however, will likely take years to create meaningful revenue.

Apple’s hardware engineering division and its artificial intelligence and machine learning group are overseeing the work on personal robotics, Bloomberg reported. The home robot project is still in the early research and development phase, according to the report.

Other tech companies have also explored home robots.

Amazon introduced its $1,600 Astro home robot in 2021, which is essentially a smart display on wheels that can answer Alexa commands. Almost three years from its debut, the device remains available in limited quantities on an invite-only basis. An executive overseeing the project departed Amazon last May, and in November, the company launched a version of Astro for businesses akin to a roving security guard.

Apple declined to comment.

Read Bloomberg’s full report here.

— CNBC’s Kif Leswing and Annie Palmer contributed reporting.

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