The Apple Car Is Dead But The Self-Driving Technology Will Live On

Autonomous Car

Apple CEO Tim Cook finally reveals the company's car plans.

For the past several years it’s been something of a mystery but Apple CEO Tim Cook has now confirmed to Bloomberg Technology his company’s plans regarding car production. In short, an Apple-built car isn’t in the immediate pipeline, but autonomous technology absolutely is. "We’re focusing on autonomous systems," Cook stated. "It’s core technology that we view as very important." Cook specifically referred self-driving tech as "the mother of all AI projects," declaring it’s "probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on."

In the past, Apple’s car project, called Project Titan, was rumored to be linked to BMW regarding a joint-effort to build autonomous cars. It still remains a rumor, but now we can at least confirm Apple is focusing on the software rather than hardware for the time being. Cook didn’t go into specifics regarding Apple’s next steps, but it’s a decent assumption that it will eventually team up with an automaker. It has already invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese ride-hailing company. Cook’s revelation also immediately puts Apple in direct competition with Intel, Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, and Tesla, Inc., all of whom are making rapid progress in this field.

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For its part, Apple has secured a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to test three self-driving SUVs. Cook also expressed his enthusiasm for electric vehicles, saying "It’s a marvelous experience not to stop at the filling station or the gas station." If you previously didn’t believe, or simply didn’t want to, that the car’s future involves electrification and fully autonomous capability, then it’s time you altered those beliefs. The writing is on the wall.

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