Apple Inc. showed interest in autonomous-vehicle technology. In a letter sent to U.S. transportation regulators, on November 22nd, Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, noted that the company is thinking about software dealing with the control of self-driving cars. He stated that the company is “investing heavily in machine learning and automation” for various purposes “including transportation.”
The letter, appeared late Friday, showed Apple’s first public statements related to car effort, referred to as Project Titan, after many years of its confidentiality. Tom Neumayr, Apple spokesman, stated that the company gave comments to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as it is investing in automation as well as machine learning. “We want to work with NHTSA to help define the best practices for the industry,” Mr. Neumayr said.
The company’s serious attention towards the development of software showed that the company is thinking only about autonomous-driving system rather than building a car. Last summer, the company also started working with the staff having software backgrounds and eliminated those positions that were interested in the development of cars.
“You could interpret this as a sign that they’re trying to invest where they feel like they can still make a difference, whereas building a car might be something they found really may not be worth it to them,” said Mike Ramsey, an analyst at Gartner Inc.
The company also showed interest in NHTSA’s plan to share data related to accidents as well as near misses. This data could help in improving the software with the passage of time. However, other companies are not in favor of sharing this data.
The letter has also encouraged NHTSA to start working with international organizations such as United Nations Economic Commission for Europe to develop a “harmonized approach to automated vehicles.”
This letter is also showing that the company is trying to expand its scope by working on other areas such as transportation and health care. The letter is also representing that the company is ambitious in case of autonomous-vehicle to go beyond the U.S.
Some other companies such as General Motors Co. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. have also submitted comments to NHTSA. So, Apple’s letter is among the letters from more than 1100 letters submitted to NHTSA.
Source: The Wall Street Journal