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Apple CEO Tim Cook Confirms Autonomous Car Efforts

Variety logo Variety 6/13/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed his company’s efforts to build autonomous systems that could one day power self-driving cars in an interview with Bloomberg Tuesday. Cook said that he viewed autonomous driving as “the mother of all (artificial intelligence) projects.”

Apple’s chief executive stopped short of committing that the company will actually build its own autonomous car, but said that he is fascinated by the convergence of autonomous driving, electric cars and ride sharing. “I think there is major disruption looming there,” he said.

Apple has been secretly working for some time on car-based technology, an effort that has been clouded in secrecy. The company was reportedly initially working on its own vehicle, but refocused those efforts last year to instead build autonomous driving technology that could one day be used by other car makers.

Cook’s carefully chosen words during his Bloomberg interview suggested as much. “We are focusing on autonomous systems, he said. “And clearly, one purpose of autonomous systems is self-driving cars.”

Apple isn’t the only major tech company developing autonomous car technology. Google has long been public about its self-driving car project, and Uber, Tesla, Baidu, Nvidia and others all have their own efforts in this space as well.

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