We’ve all had the suspicion that Apple was working on some sort of autonomous driving project and it has been confirmed. Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company is indeed working on an autonomous driving project. It was eventually going to be impossible for Apple to not admit to this as many Lexus SUVs have been spotted with autonomous driving equipment all over them. These Lexus SUVs were known to belong to Apple so most people had unconfirmed suspicions that the company was doing research on the technology. The big news here is, Apple isn’t working on a car but instead are focusing on driving systems and software.
“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in a recent Bloomberg interview, adding that “it’s a core technology that we view as very important.” It’s the first time the Apple CEO has discussed the company’s autonomous car research in any detail, although many questions remain.
Cook views a system that enables autonomous driving as a major technical challenge, calling it “the mother of all AI projects.” It’s notably more realistic than statements from executives at other companies developing autonomous driving tech, many of whom seem to take for granted that the technology will arrive soon.
While we need to take Cook’s statement at face-value, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the company could make their own vehicle in the future. There has been talk that Apple should scoop up Tesla which would give them a big leap ahead in the tech. That’s probably not going to happen, at least as long as Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla. Still, while Apple isn’t making a car, it will be interesting to see what sort of autonomous system it offers up. It will also be interesting to see who partners with Apple on the hardware side to implement that system.