Apple CEO: Autonomous Vehicle Systems Are a Core Technology

Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook confirms the company’s automotive efforts will focus on autonomous systems, which he describes as an important “core technology.”

Autonomous technologies are the “mother of all AI (artificial intelligence) projects” as well as one of the most difficult, Cook tells Bloomberg Television. He says such prospects are “incredibly exciting” but didn’t reveal any specific product plans or timing.

Apple has been extremely secretive about the scope of its automotive program. Late last year Apple acknowledged it was “investing heavily” in automated systems. The company also received a permit from the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles to test three self-driving vehicles on public roads.

Citing autonomous vehicles, electrification and ride-sharing services, Cook notes there are three looming “vectors of change” that could spur major disruptions in personal transportation. Last year Apple invested $1 billion in China ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.