Is the Apple Car Real After All?

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【Summary】Apple Car probably still dead, but Apple is getting involved with automotive.

Timothy Healey    Dec 10, 2016 5:30 PM PT

Reports about the demise of the Apple Car might be greatly exaggerated.

Or they might not – after all, rumors are just that.

Earlier this year, reports indicated that instead of focusing on building a car, the company has switched its focus to in-car software. Now, however, a report out of Britain says that the project, which is called "Project Titan" internally at Apple, might not be dead after all.

Express and VentureBeat is reporting that Apple sent a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urging it to not restrict testing on autonomous vehicles. In addition, the company has filed for a patent on tech that would help self-driving cars avoid collisions. The tech is meant to use a new, faster method for identifying shapes and distance to help autonomous cars learn an unfamiliar area faster.

In its letter to the government, Apple says it's using machine learning in many different areas, including the automotive space. It also urges NHSTA to treat both legacy automakers and companies that are new to the automotive industry equally when it comes to self-driving cars and safety.

"Apple uses machine learning to make its products and services smarter, more intuitive, and more personal," the letter said. "The company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation."

As expected, Apple is playing mum on its plans for Project Titan, which has a rumored targeted release date of the year 2020.

"We've provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems," a spokesperson for the company told the Financial Times. "There are many potential applications for these technologies, including the future of transportation, so we want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry."

Despite a headline claiming that this news means an Apple Car is real and forthcoming, Express concedes near the end of its piece that other recent reports have suggested the Apple Car is dead and Apple's efforts are focused on automotive software.

Even if it isn't working on building a car, it's clear that Apple is getting more and more involved with the automotive industry, beyond just its Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring system. This letter should prove that much, at least.

It's no surprise that Apple is working on some sort of automotive tech – not only are competitors like Microsoft and Google doing the same, but with the rapid advances in automotive tech, from safety to convenience features to autonomous driving software, there will be room for tech giants to make their mark on the automotive industry, and it might not take a whole new car to do it.

resource from: Express, VentureBeat

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