Tim Cook: Apple is working on driverless cars


After years toiling away in secret on its vehicle project, Apple Inc.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Tim Cook, Apple's CEO confirmed that they're at least working on software for a driverless auto.

The chief executive told Bloomberg Apple is "focusing on autonomous systems.And clearly one objective of autonomous systems is self-driving cars".

He also said "Its a core technology that we view as very important".

"We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects", Cook said in his latest interview, referring to the driverless cars. "It's probably one of the most hard A.I. projects".

Apple has been rumoured to be working on building a driverless auto for some time, but the company has never directly confirmed anything.

Waymo, a division of Google parent company Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), unveiled its self-driving prototype in May 2014 and has signed partnerships with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Lyft to develop the technology.

Until past year, Apple reportedly had plans to build its own auto, but the plans have shifted to developing the underlying technology for autonomous driving.

Apple's self-driving auto efforts are known internally as "Project Titan".

The iPhone maker secured a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April to test three self-driving sports-utility vehicles, photos of which emerged several weeks later.

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It seems then that it's the electric and auto manufacturing element where Apple may have got cold feet in terms of building its own vehicles - reports suggests that Project Titan's exponentially-rising costs and workforce encouraged Apple to change tact, with Apple's Bob Mansfield leading the team from 2016 and seemingly steering it onto its current course.

Cook's comments illustrate that Apple is working on the software behind the vehicle.

Apple is not known for its speed to market, and probably finds itself lagging in the race to develop driverless vehicle technology - that's without knowing what the company has already developed in secret. The letter was published on a federal website. In the letter, Mr Kenner wrote about the company's excitement surrounding the potential for automated systems in fields like transportation.

Cook told Bloomberg that there were "Three vectors of change, happening at generally the same timeframe" referring to the self-driving auto revolution, electric cars and ride sharing. "You've got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame".

The self-driving vehicle industry could mean big business for the likes of Apple and Google, which has been at the forefront of pushing the technology forward.

Cook also noted that there is a major disruption coming in the near future surrounding cars based around three pillars that are now developing; they include self-driving cars, electrification of cars, and ride-sharing.

By Stephen Nellis, Reuters Apple plans to create a $1 billion fund to invest in USA companies that perform advanced manufacturing, chief executive officer Tim Cook said a few days ago, the iPhone maker's latest effort to show how it is creating U.S. jobs. The announcement came soon after Mansfield took over Project Titan and set about cutting hundreds of engineers. Whereas Apple had initially been building its own auto, Mr Mansfield scrapped those plans in favour of building an autonomous driving system. The company will make a decision on whether to proceed with the push later this year, the people said at the time.

Apple's autonomous auto project has never really been much of a secret.

"Autonomy is something that is incredibly exciting for us", he says. He doesn't go into detail and he does point out that Apple isn't ready to announce a self-driving vehicle product just yet.