16, Jun 2017

Tim Cook hints Apple's driverless car plan is real

As the rumors swirl about Apple's pursuit of a proprietary self-driving car, for the first time its CEO, Tim Cook, officially acknowledged that the company is currently focused on developing an autonomous system behind the vehicles rather than aiming at a full-fledged self-driving car. But he also hinted that the Apple driverless car might be possible in the future as part of the same project for an autonomous system.

It is widely believed that Apple has been working on the self-driving car for a couple of years. However, the company never acknowledged it in public. But thanks to the rumor mill watch we always knew what was cooking up inside Apple in this regard.

And now none other than Apple's CEO, Tim Cook has cagily conceded that Apple is developing a software system for the driverless vehicles. The statement of the CEO comes in the wake of rumors that Apple might abandon its pursuit of an autonomous car.

In a recent interview given to Bloomberg, Cook said, "We're focusing on autonomous systems. And clearly, one purpose of autonomous systems are self-driving cars. There are others," Although this gives us a clue to a possible driverless car in the future, Cook avoided to tell it in "product point of view".

Cook further said, "And we sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects. It's probably one of the most difficult AI projects actually to work on and so autonomy is something that's incredibly exciting for us, but we'll see where it takes us."

Apple started the self-driving car project, internally known as "Project Titan", in 2014, but it was marred by delays and clarity of purpose. Initially, the focus was on developing in-house self-driving cars, but afterward, it reported that the Cupertino giant might outsource the task to any major car manufacturing company and instead it will focus on developing a self-driving autonomous software.

Last year, reports suggested that Apple won't go for a self-driving car but would focus on only developing an autonomous software that will aid self-driving vehicles in the future. This rumor acquired credence when the Project Titan witnessed a downsizing of staffs later last year. The project initially had 1,000 employees working on it.

Tim Cook's statement confirmed the recalibration of Project Titan and also revived the hope for Apple's own self-driving car in the future. During the interview, he once again hinted at it by saying that self-driving technology is just one of three "vectors of change" that will come to fruition in the near future.

Amidst the rumors blowing hot and cold, Apple has managed to receive the permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April to test the autonomous cars. This is a clear pointer to the fact that autonomous car is very much in the Apple's scheme of things.