The rumours surrounding Apple’s self-driving car ambitions have ranged from the company developing its own driverless Apple Car, to the entire project being restructured.
But now, for the first time, CEO Tim Cook has confirmed the company is working on software for use in self-driving cars.
Cook revealed the news during an interview with Bloomberg, in which he says the software is a “core technology” that the company sees as “very important.”
“We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects,” Cook told Bloomberg. “It’s probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.”
Despite confirming Apple’s driverless car ambitions for the first time, the CEO neglected to reveal whether the company was working on its own autonomous vehicle.
He said: “Autonomy is something that’s incredibly exciting for us, but we’ll see where it will take us.
The revelation follows Apple being granted a permit to test driverless cars in California back in April – a development that left little in doubt when it came to the company’s plans.
Now, we know for sure the firm is developing self-driving tech, even if we’re not yet sure whether we’ll see it deployed in any kind of “Apple Car”.
Last October, Apple was rumoured to have changed course, after reportedly hiring more than 1,000 engineers to work on the secretive ‘Project Titan’ – the name supposedly used to refer to the Apple Car project.
According to an earlier Bloomberg report, the firm was said to have switched its focus to the development of software, rather than driverless hardware – although, again, very little is known in the way of concrete details regarding the project.
Despite neither confirming nor denying Apple’s plans when it comes to a physical driverless car, Cook did express his admiration for electric cars.
The Apple chief added: “It’s a marvellous experience not to stop at the filling station or the gas station.”
Cook also said he sees self-driving technology as one of three “vectors of change” currently unfolding – the other two being electric vehicles and ride-hailing.
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