Tim Cook just spoke extensively about Apple’s work on self-driving cars — for the first time ever.
For the Apple CEO, this means he talked for about a minute and a half on the subject, but it was a dense interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang.
Cook laid out the three aspects of the auto industry he believes are ripe for disruption; autonomous driving, lessening reliance on gasoline, and the pleasure of driving an electric car.
“You have three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame,” Cook told Chang. “As we look at it, we are focusing on autonomous systems.”
This seems to mean Apple is ditching any attempt to build its own car, but rather focus on the technology that drives the car. But Cook doesn’t limit the potential of Apple’s system to cars.
“Clearly, one purpose of auto systems is self-driving cars,” Cook said. “We see it as the mother of all AI projects. It’s probably the most difficult AI projects to work on.”
The CEO declined to say exactly what the company has been working on, but Apple obtained a permit to test self-driving cars in California and has been seen doing so in a Lexus.
The company’s other AI projects, namely its voice-assistant Siri, hasn’t matched up well to its rivals at Amazon or Google, however. Apple released an updated Siri at its developer conference earlier this month, including entering the smart speaker market with the introduction of the Homepod.
Competitors in the self-driving car space include Google, Tesla and many of the traditional car makers like Toyota. Morgan Stanley recently said the autonomous driving economy could make Tesla one of the most valuable companies in the world, even if the company only captures a small percentage of the market.
The huge market potential is one reason why so many companies are working on the self-driving car dilemma.
Even Cook seemed particularly animated when talking about the potential upside for his company.
Apple’s shares declined over the last several days along with the general tech market, but seem to have stabilised early Tuesday. The company is up 26.54% so far this year and opened trading at $US147.15 Tuesday.
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