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Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Very Focused on Autonomous Systems'

It's no secret that Apple is working on an autonomous driving system, thanks to statements from Apple CEO Tim Cook, information published by the DMV, and the presence of Apple's autonomous test vehicles on the road, but during today's earnings call, Cook re-emphasized Apple's deep interest in the technology, and he even hinted Apple's work on autonomy could be used for more than vehicles.

"In terms of autonomous systems, what we've said is that we are very focused on autonomous systems from a core technology point of view," Cook said. "We do have a large project going, and we're making a big investment in this from our point of view."

Cook went on to call autonomy "the mother of all AI projects," a statement he's shared before in an interview with Bloomberg. Cook also hinted that Apple has other autonomous projects in the works beyond a car system.

"Autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways -- a vehicle is only one, but there are many different areas of it. And I don't want to go any further with that," he said.

Apple has presumably been working on an autonomous driving system since 2014, when rumors of its efforts to create an electric vehicle first surfaced. Apple has now moved away from creating a full vehicle and is said to be focusing on self-driving technology instead.

Since April, Apple has been testing its autonomous driving system in several Lexus RX450h SUVs, which can be spotted on the roads around its Cupertino headquarters.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

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26 months ago
Do you guys not realise that Apple have a different department working on autonomy from the iPhone, it's not like resources are shifted away from the iPhone or the Mac
Rating: 8 Votes
26 months ago
Apple's going and changing the world again.
Rating: 7 Votes
26 months ago
Apple is taking on an autonomous car project entirely in the background, something completely out of their realm, and bigots who hate his social views still have the gall to constantly slander him and pretend he doesn't try to innovate.

Tim Cook is doing great as far as I'm concerned. None of the problems with Apple are problems that weren't also around back when Steve Jobs was CEO.
Rating: 6 Votes
26 months ago
House robots.
Rating: 5 Votes
26 months ago
I have no idea what he's getting at, but I am fascinated. Automation that isn't just about vehicles.

I honestly don't know what it could be, but it is an incredibly Apple-like thing to invest in an underlying technology that other people can build on top of. AutonomyKit.

Also, you guys are exhausting sometimes. Yes, I know you want them to work on the Mac. Point made. But are we not allowed to talk about anything else the world's most profitable company is doing?
Rating: 5 Votes
26 months ago

Cook went on to call autonomy "the mother of all AI projects...

It certainly sounds dramatic, or maybe NOT

Apple's new headquarters:
Cook told Fortune that Apple Park, the company's long-awaited space-ship like headquarters, was the "mother of all products."

Enterprise technology:
"Enterprise is like the mother of all opportunities," Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek ('') this month.

iOS 10:
At WWDC 2016 (''), Cook called iOS 10 the "mother of all releases."

Cook told investors in 2013 that 2012 was the "mother of all years," The Los Angeles Times ('') reports.

Rating: 4 Votes
26 months ago
I just realized MacRumors didn't mention the launch of the Tesla Model 3 last week. I realize this is an Apple focused website, but with Apple thought to be aiming to "give Tesla a run for their money" with their car, I'd think it'd be relevant to look at what Apple's potential future competitor is doing.
Rating: 3 Votes
26 months ago

...what we've said is that we are very focused on autonomous systems from a core technology point of view,...We do have a large project going..."

Read Cooke's words carefully. I think he views "autonomous systems" as a big category and self driving cars as just one kind of autonomous system.

He might have in mind a long list of other uses for autonomous systems. In fact any machine that currently needs human or every task that needs a human. An example might be unloading a truck or harvesting fruit from trees.

I agree with him. This is a huge field. Cars are just a beginning.

People who in low skill jobs need to worry and think about going back to school.
Rating: 3 Votes
26 months ago
It feels to me like a company that doesn't want to miss a big technology train, but isn't sure how to come to market, given the Project Titan layoffs.
Rating: 3 Votes
26 months ago
"You'll ride in robot cars within 5 years"
Actual quote from Alphabet's Sergey Brin, 5 years ago.

Certainly not google robot cars, then. Don’t think Tesla’s are yet “robot cars”.
Rating: 2 Votes

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