Apple Co-Founder: Robo-Cars Unlikely Anytime Soon

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak, who was once a proponent of autonomous vehicles, now abouts whether the technology will be available within his lifetime.

Wozniak, 69, tells a conference in Las Vegas that he has “really given up” on the idea of Level 5 autonomous vehicles. He points to the limits of artificial intelligence systems in being able to identify myriad road conditions and quickly adapt a vehicle’s response accordingly, something that humans routinely manage.

Despite his concerns, Wozniak praises the performance of a specially equipped BMW 5 Series—part of a pilot program launched in early 2018 by Aptiv plc and Lyft Inc.—that he rode in last week. Noting that he felt safe and comfortable, Wozniak says the self-driving car (with an onboard backup driver) did a “nice job.”

Wozniak left Apple in 1985. He has since been involved in several tech startup companies.

Apple has been developing autonomous vehicle technologies for several years under its secretive Project Titan program. In 2016, the company reportedly switched the direction of the team from creating an entire self-driving car to developing control software for such vehicles.