Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Electronics | By Jesus Weaver

Apple's not building a car-but is working on self-driving ones

Apple's not building a car-but is working on self-driving ones

In an interview with Bloomberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company is developing a self-driving system for cars, putting it in a race with rival tech giants such as Alphabet (Google's parent) and Intel as well as ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft and numerous major automakers.

Apple may, then, be able to develop cutting-edge automated driving technology, although it will need to keep investing in artificial intelligence and robotics research.

While Apple has given no indication of specific projects for autonomous vehicles, it has joined the list of companies with permits to test self-driving cars in California, according to state records.

Now the CEO has also confirmed the same, mentioning that Apple is focusing on autonomous systems, though he also mentioned that it is one of the most hard Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects that the company is currently working on.

But compared to others plunging into self-driving technology in an aggressive and very public way, Apple has kept a characteristically low profile with its autonomous vehicle project. "It's probably one of the most hard AI projects actually to work on", Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg TV published earlier this week.

Apple's vehicle plans started under a secret project named Titan in 2014. That might mean that the company plans to license its autonomous vehicle AI to manufacturers, such as Tesla and Ford, rather than building its own iCar. The company has thoroughly shown that a seat-of-the-pants automaker can be created in the 21st century.

Tim Cook didn't comment on whether or not the company will make its own auto in the distant future. Apple has never had to compete on price due to its unique value proposition.

The firm also invested $1bn (£785m) in the Chinese ride hailing company Didi Chuxing previous year, The Independent reports, but there has been no word yet on how Apple will apply the company's technology to its driverless project. "There is a major disruption looming there", Cook said, "You've got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame". Nothing Cook said was particularly revelatory and echoed what most others in the space have been saying-autonomous technology will be a game-changer, used for ride-sharing services, and is "the mother of all AI projects".

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