Apple continues work on autonomous vehicle challenges

“What happens when an autonomous car needs to make a decision between crashing into another car, or that child crossing the street? How long will it have to take that decision? Who dies?” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld. “While iPhones are pretty complicated, cars are both complex and life-threatening.”

Evans writes, “Reports claiming the demise of the Apple Car project were obviously exaggerated, Apple is working hard to solve some of the big, complicated challenges of autonomous vehicles.”

“Under the radar of Thanksgiving, two Apple researchers this week published a paper in which they discussed their research into LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. It’s a remote sensing method that uses light to detect objects and figure out distance from those objects,” Evans writes. “What’s most important is that the Apple researchers think they have found a way to make LiDAR more accurate – an important step in the development of Apple Car.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple seems to want to get the hard stuff (autonomous vehicle OS) done first and will wait do the easier stuff (vehicle hardware) later (based on when and if they succeed with the software).

17 autonomous vehicle engineers leave Apple for self-driving car startup Zoox – August 30, 2017
Apple scales back its ambitions for a self-driving car – August 23, 2017
Apple’s ‘Project Titan’ remains as fuzzy as ever – June 14, 2017
Tim Cook says Apple is focusing on an autonomous car system; does not rule out making own vehicles – June 13, 201
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


    1. There’s a dangerous trend in the tech industry where everything is shipped in beta. A really well known tech company decided to try their hand at medical machines (kidney dialysis if I recall) and shipped it with bugs. The company basically went bankrupt. You can’t pull stunts like that in the medical industry.

      So if Tim Cook is the “ship late, but ship when it’s right” guy, that’s good for auto!

    2. We’re working on some animojis that you’ll really like. They’ll be AirPlay enabled for some real neat games to work on the next AppleTV. With Christmas season, quarter announcements, Developer’s Conference ahead, July, or August ’18 is our goal. But, with the possible release of the next Notch Phone, it might be delayed until October ’18. I’ve asked Eddy to give the release date a real high priority. Anyways, I’m real excited!

  1. It makes sense to have the priority on the software as it will to a considerable degree determine the car hardware. That said you do need to have a core product to continually update in regard to that or you will find the software just sits there for 3 years while you then sort the car itself. Sounds familiar actually though it might be that neither is actually ready in some of their other delayed products.

    1. I spent a bit over 10 years in the auto business from the dealer to the manufacturer level.

      Everything there is far far more complex than 99% of you would believe from technological to legal, the laws of chemistry and physics, the list is longer than you would believe.

      I am old enough to have bought the last vehicle I will need to buy since I typically go 15 years on a car. I will keep driving it, and keep a closer eye on on an “autonomous” vehicle managed by a software package than I will one driven by a human being, even taking into account the imperfections and pure idiocy thats out there on the roads.

      That I can adjust to, and can make a reasonable prediction and set of actions that will keep me from getting hit, 99.9% of the time. I fear human imperfections less than I do computer imperfections to be honest. A computer that can do everything eventually WILL, if you get my drift. If you don’t…..too bad.

  2. It continues to work on autonomous vehicles challenges while failing to deliver on its promise of a HomePod which is in a real market with real revenue and real strategic implications. Also, as of Thanksgiving nobody can order the iMac Pro promised so long ago who can remember. And the Apple TV continues to be one of the laggard products, apparently still a hobby.

    Glad Tim Cook has the team working on cars nobody wants or will buy in the next several years.

    1. The people working on Apple’s car are not the same people working on HomePod. The HomePod team is not held back by other Apple development projects.

      It’s not as though Apple only has a limited amount of money, so I don’t expect there to be any budgetary constraints on HomePod development, so maybe it’s down to either having to solve a technical challenge, deciding to add extra abilities to it or else issues with manufacturing it in quantity?

      Apple isn’t delaying HomePod on purpose and if there was any way of shipping it yesterday, they would have done so. Missing out on Christmas sales is certainly unfortunate, but it would be considerably worse to ship a product which wasn’t ready.

      1. to an extent but, you have to admit, there’s a noticeable trend? Other company’s are releasing new technology that Apple is chasing and, other that the long-leading iPh, there’s very little that is heads above the rest (AirBuds don’t fit me, but “stellar” is a common description). In fact, there are a number of items that are on the market with obvious deficiencies.
        TC and crew seems to hold emojis and animojis in higher regard: than so many other items on the product list. Of course, I don’t truly believe that, but the apparent commitment level to them alone is sickening. They’re trite and show the Team’s bending to the will of pop-culture vs directing culture. Do “we” really yearn for a more complete battalion of emojunk?
        Of all of the World’s companies, Apple should have the force to execute and release as stated. The HomePod is just one in a litany of misses. Of course Apple isn’t delaying on purpose…of course not. There would be no reason for that, but regular delays point to management/leadership issues as the eventual releases don’t show the tech advances that would explain the delays. I am not, nor do I think any Apple supporters think Apple should ship prematurely. That’s not Apple’s credo. Granted, there are product exceptions, but there’s a disconcerting trend to miss announce dates, ship below standard hard/software and a commitment to the sophomoric. Apple should be exceptional in every regard…the money is there to execute. Instead, “exception” is becoming the norm.

Reader Feedback

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