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Apple 'focusing on autonomous' for car project

By Dave Leggett | 13 June 2017

Apple CEO Tim Cook has confirmed, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, that the company is concentrating on self-driving technology as it eyes entry to the personal mobility space.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook said. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."

He added: "We sort of see it as the mother of all A.I. projects. It's probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects actually to work on."

After initially planning to build an 'Apple car', the company has changed its focus towards the technology for autonomous driving. Late last year, reports surfaced that Apple was rethinking its plans to enter the automotive market and laid off workers involved with its 'Titan' project.

"There is a major disruption looming there," Cook said on Bloomberg Television, citing self-driving technology, electric vehicles and ride-hailing. "You've got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame."

However, Cook appeared non-committal on the question of whether the company would make its own car. Analysts have speculated that it may work with a carmaker. "We'll see where it takes us," Cook told Bloomberg. "We're not really saying from a product point of view what we will do."

Apple's efforts and strategy in the transportation space have been characterised by a high degree of secrecy. Analysts says it's a strategic step that the company is taking a lot of care over, wary of both the scale of the opportunity and the consequences for the brand of a miss-step. 

COMMENT: How far away is an 'Apple car'?