Is Apple Building A Self-Driving Car After All?

Autonomous Car

Apple breaks silence on its self-driving car plans. Please don't call it the iCar.

Rumors that technology giant Apple is developing a self-driving car have been rife for years now. However, Apple has now officially acknowledged its plans to invest in the autonomous car market. The news comes from a letter sent from Apple to the head of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation,” it said.

“Executed properly under NHTSA’s guidance, automated vehicles have the potential to greatly enhance the human experience – to prevent millions of car crashes and thousands of fatalities each year and to give mobility to those without,” the letter added. The technology giant is also encouraging car companies to share data from crashes and near-misses "in order to build a more comprehensive picture than one company could manage alone, and therefore enable the design of better systems." However, it emphasizes that privacy should not be compromised by collating such data and that resources necessary to protect individuals' fundamental right to privacy should be invested in.

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The iPhone maker suggests that the industry should "address privacy challenges associated with the collection, use, and sharing of automated vehicle data," by collaborating with privacy experts outside the automotive industry. This of course is the first time that Apple has publicly acknowledged its interest in the autonomous car market. What isn’t clear in the letter, however, is whether the technology giant is building its own self-driving car as previously rumored, although this was recently downplayed when reports suggested the firm was instead developing self-driving software that could be adopted by other manufacturers.

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