Tim Cook Tells Bloomberg That Apple Is Focused on Autonomous Systems

Interesting interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang:

“We’re focusing on autonomous systems,” Cook said in a June 5 interview on Bloomberg Television that amounted to his most detailed comments yet on Apple’s automotive plans. “It’s a core technology that we view as very important.” He likened the effort to “the mother of all AI projects,” saying it’s “probably one of the most difficult AI projects to work on.” […]

In the interview on Bloomberg Television, Cook was hesitant to disclose whether Apple will ultimately manufacture its own car. “We’ll see where it takes us,” Cook said. “We’re not really saying from a product point of view what we will do.”

It’s kind of surprising to hear Cook speak so openly about this. Why now, with no product to speak of? I mean, this is a company that will not publicly acknowledge that they’re planning to release new iPhones this September.

I can think of a few reasons. First, there’s no reason not speak about it as an area of interest, because public filings with regulatory agencies prevent Apple from being entirely secret about these efforts. It might also be a sort of recruiting effort for AI talent – a way of emphasizing publicly that Apple is serious about autonomous systems.

(Lastly, I’ll note that Cook spoke of “autonomous systems” in general, not “self-driving cars” specifically. He did speak of the disruptive opportunities in the car industry, but “autonomous systems” could include any sort of device that moves around on its own accord.)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017