Tim Cook says Apple is focusing on an autonomous car system; does not rule out making own vehicles

“After years toiling away in secret on its car project, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has for the first time laid out exactly what the company is up to in the automotive market: It’s concentrating on self-driving technology,” Alex Webb and Emily Chang report for Bloomberg.

“‘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,” Webb and Chang report. “‘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.'”

“Cook has never before openly outlined Apple’s plans, though public filings have surfaced in recent months that provided snapshots of Apple’s efforts,” Webb and Chang report. “‘There is a major disruption looming there,’ Cook said on Bloomberg Television, citing self-driving technology, electric vehicles and ride-hailing. ‘You’ve got kind of three vectors of change happening generally in the same time frame.'”

[protected-iframe id=”250ec28e4dfe8add65bfa96523940304-17146794-18685410″ info=”https://www.bloomberg.com/api/embed/iframe?id=063fffff-5725-473a-9147-2e74f6b2e6a6″ frameborder=”0″]

Webb and Chang report, “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.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Well, there’s official confirmation of what’s already publicly known, at least.

How Apple is training testers for self-driving Apple Car – April 24, 2017
Apple permit reveals self-driving car testers include NASA roboticists – April 24, 2017
Apple + satellites = ? – April 22. 2017
Why Apple may be interested in space satellites – April 21, 2017
Apple’s self-driving car test program revealed in new document – April 21, 2017
Analyst: Apple ‘almost certainly’ exploring making a whole car but there’s a big challenge – April 18, 2017
Right now, the ‘Apple Car’ is a 2015 Lexus RX 450h SUV – April 17, 2017
Gene Munster on Apple Car: Exploration does not mean a product comes to market – April 17, 2017
Apple’s Project Titan: California makes it official – April 17, 2017
Why you should get your self-driving car from Apple – April 17, 2017
Apple secures permit to test autonomous vehicles – April 15, 2017
Apple’s letter to the U.S. NHTSA reveals 30-year Detroit veteran on its stealth ‘Project Titan’ team – December 8, 2016
Apple files patent for autonomous vehicle collision avoidance system – December 8, 2016
Apple letter all but confirms plans for self-driving cars and commitment to privacy – December 5, 2016
Apple drops hints about autonomous-vehicle project in letter to U.S. transportation regulators – December 3, 2016
It’s not McLaren Racing, but McLaren Applied Technologies, that’s the apple of Apple’s eye – September 23, 2016
Apple-target McLaren is a tech company disguised as a carmaker – September 22, 2016
Supercar-maker McLaren says not in discussion with Apple ‘in respect of any potential investment’ – September 22, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire British supercar maker McLaren – September 21, 2016
Apple in talks to acquire electric vehicle-maker Lit Motors – September 21, 2016
Gene Munster gives up the Apple Television ghost – May 19, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Why this big push for autonomous vehicles? The infrastructure isn’t there and won’t be for 20-30 years. It’s like the electrics, still basically a niche market after, how many years? I’ve yet to see an full electric car on say, the Generals highway thru Sequoia. You know why? Cause it will be exhausted before it gets halfway thru that highway and stuck. Where a gas vehicle won’t. Most people just like to drive, that won’t change for a long time.

    1. You seem to be assuming that people will own cars the way that you currently do and drive them the way that you do in your area.

      There are other ways of approaching making an autonomous car a viable proposition and Apple may well be looking at possibilities quite unlike how things are at the moment. For instance city dwellers make short journeys and it’s difficult to find parking places either at work or at home. An autonomous car that you rent by the minute, which drives to you when you hail it and goes away after you’ve done with it might be a hugely attractive proposition for millions of people, but wouldn’t suit you or me.

      It’s not so long ago that keyboards were an essential part of a phone, music was carried around on cassettes or CDs, all computers had to have a floppy disk and there was a Blockbusters store in every residential area. Things that we accept as the well-proven way of doing things are now liable to change very rapidly. The automotive industry might suddenly find itself disrupted if somebody comes up with a well thought out alternative.

  2. How much money has Apple spent to develop an electric car that mostly “urban” yuppies think is cool, and they don’t even buy cars. There is a tiny market for electric cars, but Apple seems bent on pouring hundreds of billions of dollars chasing this empty market in order to get kudos from Al Gore and the leftists who Tim hangs out with. This project could destroy Apple.

    1. Eventually all cars will be electric. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And it will happen from the top of the market, down. A great place to make money while you’re changing the world.

        1. Electric cars won’t always be powered by coal (or hydro, which if we’re being honest isn’t a whole lot better) in your state.

          But even when they’re charged from a grid powered by coal, they’re often charged at night when thermal power plants are creating excess supply.

          Electric cars are far from perfect. Battery technology isn’t very good today, and they have their own environmental footprint.

          But ask an automotive engineer or designer. Electricity lets you do so many cool things with the future of the automobile.

          1. Gasoline powered cars provide benefits far beyond anything electric can do, without the constant charging need, the weight of the massive battery network, and the higher price for the car itself and the energy it requires.

            1. Do you know anything about the physics of making an automobile move at high rates of speed over long periods and the amount of energy required? Electricity is less efficient at this than gasoline by far. And creates less pollution.

            2. Hydrogen fuel cells running H2 generated at home or at the H2 service station. The source energy to crack the H2 from H2O can be anything, including solar panels and wind farms. There need be ZERO carbon anywhere in the system.

              The problem: How to store it. It’s explosive. The usual method of storage is at high pressure and extremely cold temperature.

              But it’s a workable and working solution. No carbon.

        2. kent — it is easy to find out how much of your local utility-produced electricity comes from coal. For many, most of our electricity is NOT powered by coal. And some power companies let customers buy solar-produced electricity (by paying a premium, which goes to pay for PV installations). Other customers tied into the electric grid might produce their own electricity offsets with PV cells on their houses.

      1. Reports a year or two ago were that Apple at that early stage had 5000 engineers working on this. You have no idea what is being spent. How much do you think it takes to become a player in the automobile manufacturing industry? My guess is you think its like introducing a new audio speaker. This level of cluelessness is what drives the fake demand for electric cars.

  3. Pipeline must be trying to show his misguided ability to show how far into the future he can see, when he needs to see the immediate issues surrounding Apple. Jobs once referred to (I think) the TV related project a “hobby”.

      1. Google has a diverse areas of interests and actually invested in them. Tesla has actual cars (with infrastructures for electric cars) and been testing autonomous cars for a long time. Apple has not been there yet, but I am not saying they won’t be. It seems to me, and this is of course my own personal opinion”, Apple can take a look at something that they can use their full resources more effectively or efficiently, given the pattern of TC operates so far. Perhaps Apple must be focussing on the software aspect only, but it still seems a way off project for them. A sign of Apple being taken over by Alphabet, and/or the CEO be replaced by Elon Musk?, LOL

  4. A recent article citing Japanese attempt for ultra accurate GPS satellites first before perfecting their effort for autonomous cars, electric or otherwise. Current GPS or GLONASS has certain accuracy level in meters, which becomes worse in congested (too many high-rise bldgs etc) or remote areas). Complete coverage of the globe requires minimum 4 satellites. Japanese GPS covers mostly over the archipelago of Japan and surrounding area. They launched 2nd one recently and complete the 4 sets within this year. According to Japanese autonomous car effort, the current GPS accuracy is not suitable for precise autonomous driving that requires positional control of a few inch on highway lane control, high-speed passing on oncoming cars, or just narrow and winding roads typically found in Japan and Europe. So, their new set of GPS satellites is said to have an astonishing 6cm accuracy and improving (or this may be for ultra accurate missile guidance for N.Korea? :-). So, their approach seems to be the “infrastructure first”. Or, in N.America where roads are usually wider, you can still embed some kind of tracking and positioning device. In any case, sounds like everything has to be codeveloped side by side, and could be a very long time effort. Anyone who could make a wild dream, yet actually execute it is NOT Pipeline T, but Musk, who is already talking about a network of high-speed guided tunnel underneath LA. Let’s see who can realistically materialize the first realistic (and safe) autonomous car.

    1. Keep in mind GPS is used to navigate, and other sensor technology is used for lane detection and collision avoidance.

      You’re not driving on a “track” created by a digital map and a GPS signal.

  5. I know that GPS is merely one aspect of supporting the autonomous car effort. But, country like Japan may be developing autonomous driving support by placing more emphasis on literally “autonomous” positioning system such as GPS, rather than fixed embedded devices (which they use to supplement the driving/positioning accuracy). Your guess….

  6. I know I am talking too much about this and should digress, but the local level control of autonomous car seems to depend on cameras and sensors and such. But they cannot function independently or “autonomously”, AI or not, without the assist of other more global positioning system such as GPS etc. My point is that Mr. Cook may not be a right person to lead Apple into such effort as autonomous cars, unless that’s the only fad he can see in his crystal ball.

  7. Tim Cook wants to make cars? I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry.

    Maybe I could get my Mac repaired while Wrench Timmy changes my oil at the Apple Store.

    Maybe I could shop for some earbuds while Grease Monkey Timmy rotates my tires at Apple Store.

    Maybe Apple Stores will have workshops on how to upgrade your memory and brake pads.

    Hey, Timmy, is that a spanner or a metal dildo?

    1. Hey, Kolache, I’m sorry you have to waste your time thinking about this terrible company with its terrible products. I’d REALLY love to help you out. Would you like those urls for other computer and phone companies?

  8. I think you’re right.

    I’ve yet to see any sign of a major car manufacturer saying that they want to buy a ready made car operating system from the likes of Apple or Google, they all want to develop their own and avoid the big tech companies.

    If Apple comes up with a viable system for controlling cars, then the only realistic option for getting it on the road would be to build the cars too. A conventional car takes several years to go from the initial idea to reaching the showroom. If Apple showed a great system to a manufacturer and that manufacturer started negotiating terms and then designing a car to exploit it, the technology might be five years old before customers get their hands on it. Offering an off-the-peg system for cars isn’t going to be realistic with the car industry in its present form.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.