Apple focused on autonomous car tech, says CEO Tim Cook

June 14, 2017 //By Rich Pell
Apple focused on autonomous car tech, says CEO Tim Cook
For the first time, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly elaborated on the company's plans in the autonomous car space.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television (New York City, NY), Cook confirmed that Apple (Cupertino, CA) was focusing on autonomous systems as a very important "core technology." At the same time, he acknowledged that it was “probably one of the most difficult artificial intelligence (AI) projects to work on," referring to it as "the mother of all AI projects."

“There is a major disruption looming there," says Cook, referring to automotive technology. He goes on to list self-driving technology, electric vehicles, and ride-hailing as "three vectors of change" all happening at about the same time.

Apple has long been known to be working on a secretive autonomous car project, called Project Titan. Initially the tech giant was reportedly considering building its own car, but, according to Bloomberg, has since decided to focus its efforts on the underlying technology.

"We'll see where it takes us," says Cook. "We're not really saying from a product point of view what we will do."

Earlier this year the company received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to road test three self-driving SUVs. According to one report, one of the vehicles spotted was a Lexus RX450h equipped with Velodyne Lidar's (Morgan Hill, CA) highest-end lidar sensor, at least two radar sensors, and several cameras - all commercially available devices according to one expert.

In the interview, Cook also expressed his enthusiasm about electric vehicles, saying that driving one - and not having to stop at a gas station - was a "marvelous experience." As far as Cook's third mentioned "vector of change" - ride sharing - Apple last year invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, often described as "the Uber of China."

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