Apple has always tried to stay at the forefront of Silicon Valley, whether it's smartphones or operating systems. Regardless of what it is, if it's the latest focus of the tech industry, Apple is there.
To that end, Apple had been working on a car project for the last few years but has kept the details of it under wraps for some time. Tim Cook has finally revealed what the project's focus is, and it shouldn't come as a surprise.
Apple's Autonomous Cars
In an interview with Bloomberg, Cook revealed that Apple's work in the automotive market is indeed focused on autonomous cars. This isn't a surprise given that the autonomous car craze has gripped the tech industry in the last two years. BMW and GM have expanded into Silicon Valley to develop autonomous cars in-house while companies such as Waymo were founded specifically for autonomous driving programs.
"We're focusing on autonomous systems. It's a core technology that we view as very important. We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects," Tim Cook said in the interview with Bloomberg. He continued, "It's probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects to work on."
When Apple originally set up its car project, it was to build its own car before re-focusing into the autonomous car space. To that end, Apple hired over 1,000 new employees to work on the car team, known as Project Titan within Apple.
Cook was hesitant about whether or not Apple would manufacture its own cars.
"We'll see where it takes us. We're not really saying from a product point of view what we will do," Cook said.
A Ballooning Industry
As mentioned, Apple going into the autonomous car space is no surprise. Autonomous car and driving programs have emerged as one of Silicon Valley's new holy grails. Bloomberg and other outlets have reported in the past about the potential worth autonomous cars could have, possibly in the trillions of dollars by 2030, only adding fuel to the fire.
To pull this off, several have been forming key partnerships in an effort to be the first on the market. One of note was Lyft and Waymo's partnership that was announced recently. Waymo, which is owned by Alphabet, is one of the companies at the forefront of autonomous car research, and Lyft is the ride-hailing service that is no. 2 to Uber right now. The partnership could provide extra capital to Waymo's research while Lyft provides an easy avenue to get autonomous cars out to the public quicker.
Regardless, the race has already been heated between these companies and is only going to get more heated once autonomous cars hit the market. While Apple could find success on its own, don't be surprised if it finds a partner fairly soon.