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Apple's Autonomous Vehicle Plans, Explained

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Apple's Autonomous Vehicle Plans, Explained

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has for many years made it clear it wants to play some role in the auto industry, but the company has shied away from offering any specifics — until now.

After years of operating in mystery, Apple's CEO Tim Cook for the first time ever explained Apple's vision. Speaking to Bloomberg Television in early June, the executive said the company's main focus is on "autonomous systems," which includes self driving cars and other un-named initiatives.

Some of the more ambitious rumors over the year consisted of Apple developing and selling its own branded, car but others suggested that the company was looking to merely dominate the "infotainment" aspect of the driving experience. In the meantime, Cook isn't offering any details from a product point of view for what it will eventually make and sell.

Nevertheless, the focus on autonomous systems represents "the mother of all artificial intelligence projects," Cook emphasized. "It's a core technology that we view as very important."

What Else Is Known?

While Apple can operate in secrecy, no company can hide from the general public, a separate Bloomberg report noted. For instance, a white Lexus RX450h SUV was spotted exiting a known Apple facility in April. There was no need to speculate at the time, as Apple was granted approval from the California Department of Motor to operate three autonomous vehicles on public streets.

A source close to Apple's secretive car unit dubbed Project Titan told Bloomberg that six vehicles have been in operation on public roads near the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year.

Perhaps for some this raises more questions than answers, particularly what's next for Apple.

"We'll see where it takes us," Cook added in his interview. "We're not really saying from a product point of view what we will do."

Related Links:

Apple's Driverless Car Might Not Actually Be A Car

Analysts Say Apple's Future Is In Transportation, Not Just A Car But An 'Experience'
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Image Credit: By TomasEE, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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