Tim Cook: Apple is Making Self-driving Car Software

Apple gets permit to test autonomous driving cars on California roads

Apple CEO Tim Cook is being uncharacteristically candid because he just confirmed his company is working on a self-driving car project. He says Apple is working on the software for self-driving cars, and that artificial intelligence is a big part of the project.

In an interview with Bloomberg Cook said,

We’re focusing on autonomous systems. It’s a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects.

Reports of the Apple Car project, dubbed Titan, have been circulating for the past couple years. Until now, however, there’s hasn’t been any sort of official confirmation from Cupertino.

Apple gets permit to test autonomous driving cars on California roads
Apple’s self-driving car project is all about the software, at least for now

Apple seems more interested in the software to make cars self-driving as opposed to making its own autonomous vehicle. That seems to be a change from the company’s earlier effort where reports said Apple wanted to make its own self-driving electric car.

Focusing on the software side of self-driving cars may be Bob Mansfield’s doing. Cook assigned him to Project Titan last summer and by fall people were being laid off amidst reports that Mansfield was shifting the focus away from an actual car.

With the actual car off the table the question now is about the software: How does Apple plan to use the platform it’s making?

Mr. Cook isn’t saying, but it’s likely some sort of partnership is coming. Without a car manufacturer on board, Apple’s self-driving software won’t be of much use. That said, there’s still a chance Apple could end up making its own car.

“We’ll see where it takes us. We’re not really saying from a product point of view what we will do,” he said.

Translation: Tim Cook confirmed Apple is developing software for self-driving cars, but he won’t confirm how it’s going to be used.

2 thoughts on “Tim Cook: Apple is Making Self-driving Car Software

  • Looks like I nailed this one, too. A “system” is what I proposed Apple would do waaaay back when the clones here thought Apple was going to make a car.
    So here’s the deal. No major car company here in the US will use Apple’s “system” for retail sales but possibly for fleets of Ubers or something like that. Maybe in China some company would give up control of the “brains” of the car but NOT any US mfg. Anybody doubt this theory? After Apple successfully sells the system to some fleets or foreign mfgs if at that point they “care” about owning the whole widget they would possibly look into mfg their own cars here or somewhere else for import. IMO, Apple’s huge treasure trove of cash which is doing the planet NO GOOD for years now, could be spent on something more beneficial than a car.

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