Market situation reads stiff competition for Apple

Apple has confirmed apparently the worst kept secret in Silicon Valley: that it is working on something within the space of self-driving automotive tech.

Company CEO Tim Cook stated in an interview on Bloomberg that they are currently focusing on autonomous systems. The effort was described as being the mother of all artificial intelligence projects.

Cook stated that it is probably one of the most difficult that the company has worked on ever.

The news that Apple was working on a self-driving car comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention. It has even confirmed as much itself in regulatory filings necessary to earn permission in testing the vehicles on public roads. It is clear the company is investing heavily on the study of machine learning as well as automation, and is excited about the potential the automated systems would avail in other departments such as transportation.

Market situation reads stiff competition for Apple

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However, the real query is whether the company is actually going to build its own self-driving automotive brand or if it would follow in the footsteps of Google’s Waymo and partner with a traditional manufacturer, to which it would sell the tech.

The fact that it is hiring for Project Titan, which is what the plan is called, suggests it has at least been considering the first option of manufacturing alone by bringing in experts in vehicle design as well as production and engineering.

However Apple decides to approach this matter, it would obviously be late to the party. Similarly, they are reportedly slow on testing the autonomous systems which is added to the gap they have to close on Waymo, Uber and Tesla.

The previous attempts by the company when it comes to addressing personal mobility and automation have been damaged by high turnover rates of the specialist staff.

Apparently, Apple had been trying to build its own automotive brand before it restructured the ambitions to focus on the tech which propelled self-driving systems. They hired more than 1000 engineers to work on the project.

Apple May Move in the Same Direction as Waymo

The increasing costs and the headcount led the project being given to Bob Mansfield. Talks with Daimler and BMW also broke down due to data protection and control as Apple probably decided on developing their systems instead of going into a partnership on the technology.

The company recently got approval for testing self-driving software within California, though it has been busy working on the project for the past few years. During that time, vehicles leased were seen in the streets as it had also registered top level domain names.

Overall, it seems that Cook has been bullish about the prospects for self driving and the electric vehicles market. He is inspired by the concept of not stopping at the gas station for fuel.

Apple has also invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing which is the biggest ride-hailing service in China. The announcement came after Mansfield took over the titan project and embarked on cutting engineers.

It seems the company is moving in the direction of selling the self-driving technology, in the same manner Waymo has elected to do, as opposed to manufacturing its own car. Either way, the level of competition is quite stiff.

See More: Exclusive Interview With Phil Bezanson On Uber-Waymo, and Uber’s Strange Course of Action

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