Apple's CEO compares its upcoming autonomous car to a robot.
It's no secret that Apple is working on an electric car with highly advanced autonomous technology previewed by leaked patent designs. In response, rival smartphone companies in China such as Huawei and Xiaomi are already planning to make their own battery-electric cars. After failing to strike a deal with Hyundai and Nissan to manufacture the car, Apple is now reportedly in talks with Magna, an auto parts supplier based in Canada that is building the Fisker Ocean.
While these plans are still rumors, Apple still hasn't acknowledged its intent to enter the auto industry - until now. In a recent episode of Kara Swisher's Sway podcast for the New York Times, Apple's CEO hinted at what we can expect from the technology giant's first car, comparing it to a robot.
"The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view," said Cook. "If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there's lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we'll see what Apple does." Unfortunately, Cook refused to confirm if Apple is planning to build its own car or develop the autonomous driving software for other carmakers, but his comments suggest the technology giant has ambitious plans for the project.
"We love to integrate hardware, software and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that's where the magic occurs," he said. "And we love to own the primary technology that's around that."
While there's no explicit confirmation, it certainly sounds like Apple wants to build an electric car with integrated autonomous technology and driver assists that will blow the competition away.
Apple is allegedly planning to launch its first electric car, codenamed Project Titan, in 2024. While Cook didn't provide any clues about the car's design, Tesla will inevitably be one of its key competitors. The Apple CEO has a lot of respect for Elon Musk, but taking on an established EV giant like Tesla won't be easy considering Apple has no experience in the auto industry.
"I've never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he's built," said Cook. "I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great appreciation for them."