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Apple’s self-driving car plans could change the entire company

  • Tech
  • Apple
  • self-driving cars
  • deep learning
  • Computer vision
  • artificial intelligence

Apple’s self-driving car plans could change the entire company

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What would an Apple-made self-driving car look like? We don’t know yet, but what we do know is that the aggregation has austere plans to roll out its own electric self-driving car by 2024.

Apple hasn’t clearly accepted any of the advice appear in the Reuters letters that broke the news last week. And we are still missing many capacity on the company’s self-driving plans. Nonetheless, the news is significant, both for Apple and the self-driving car industry.

Depending on how the bearings unfolds in the next months and years, the fact that there’s a accurate date for Apple’s self-driving car plans can announce the aggregation is making a axiological change to its product-development strategy.

The accepted state of self-driving car technology

The history of self-driving cars is very much cogitating of the decades-long search for artificial accepted intelligence (AGI): the finish line always seems to be around the corner. But the closer we get to it, the harder it becomes.

Like many of today’s AI technologies, self-driving cars have their roots in the 1970s and 80s. But until recent years, they were only bound to bookish and aggressive analysis labs and science contests. In the 2010s, advances in deep learning have led to great improvements in computer vision, one of the key technologies powering self-driving cars. We’re assuredly seeing cars that can drive themselves in real streets.

Deep acquirements algorithms have helped self-driving cars come a long way toward abyssal arduous environments. But the technology is far from perfect. Deep acquirements models are only as good as their training data. If the data is adumbrative of all the situations the self-driving car will face, then it will have a robust performance. But the AI’s accomplishments will become capricious when faced with edge cases, novel situations that happen rarely, such or a fire truck parked at an odd angle or an chaotic car.

Human drivers meet novel situations all the time but can handle them thanks to their commonsense compassionate of how the world works in general. For instance, you don’t need antecedent training to know what to do if you see a deer calf bridge the road. We accept causes and effects, automatic physics, goals and intents, and this knowledge helps us make rational decisions (most of the time) when we face situations we’ve never seen before.

Some companies are using commutual technologies such as lidars, laser-emitting accessories that create 3D maps of the car’s surroundings. Lidars can help detect obstacles and people where the computer vision system fails, but they’re not aggressive to ecology factors and motion, and they do not solve the botheration of causality.

Apple’s self-driving car efforts

Apple has been doing free active analysis under the title “Project Titan” since 2014. But unlike efforts at other companies like Uber and the Google-owned Waymo, very little is known about Apple’s self-driving car activity and the company’s progress.

The antecedent goal was reportedly for Apple to create a car from scratch. In 2016, the aggregation confused focus and aimed at developing software for self-driving cars. In January 2019, Apple laid off 200 employees from the project, then went on to access the self-driving startup Drive.ai in June. In December 2020, the aggregation moved activity Titan under the care of John Giannandrea, its head of bogus intelligence.

The history of Activity Titan indicates that while Apple has always maintained an absorption in self-driving cars, but there were never signs of a plan to launch a product. This afflicted with the Reuters report, which claimed Apple has “Apple has progressed enough that it now aims to build a vehicle.”

Apple’s artefact development strategy

Apple is usually not a first mover, but it absolutely knows when to enter a new market. Apple II was not the first claimed computer, but it was the first very acknowledged one, architecture on top of a decade of rapid advances in accumulator and processing technologies and the bit-by-bit abatement of the costs of accomplishment the pieces appropriate to accumulate a home computer.

The iPod was not the first device to play audio files, but it launched at a very appropriate time, when agenda media acceptance had accomplished analytical mass and the market was ripe for high-end customer products. The same with iPhone, which entered the scene as mobile communications, internet, and accretion had become common thanks to the likes of Nokia and Blackberry. There was annihilation new to the iPhone, but it was a novel aggregate of “an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator.”

If you look at Apple’s other products, the HomePod, Apple Music, Apple Watch, they were never the first of their kind, but a revolutionized adaptation of what already exists. Maybe with the barring of the graphical user interface, Apple has seldom ventured into areas where the market has not been already established.

But the self-driving car industry is still marked with missed deadlines by all major players. Despite amazing progress, there is still no real self-driving car solution. Uber and Waymo’s self-driving cars have logged millions of miles, but they are still abounding by safety drivers. Tesla offers a fully free Autopilot feature— but still requires drivers to keep their hands on the council wheel when it is enabled.

While most experts agree that we’ll eventually have driverless cars on our roads, many questions remain, such as what they will look like, how and if they will share roads with human-driven cars, what will be the authoritative requirements, and will the acceptation of car buying change.

Training data for the AI algorithms

apple store

There’s one very acceptable reason Apple would enter a market as adolescent and risky as self-driving cars. Unlike other sectors that Apple has conquered, self-driving cars are heavy on bogus intelligence and accreditation a altered development strategy. The deep acquirements algorithms used in self-driving cars require huge volumes of training data acquired from active cars on roads. Therefore, aside from sound engineering and design, you need an AI factory built on top of a solid data infrastructure.

Waymo and Uber have been accession their data by test-driving their cars in altered cities. Tesla, on the other hand, has anon calm its data from the hundreds of bags of cars it has sold to consumers.

According to reports, Apple had done some small-scale road testing in the past, but downgraded the effort in 2019. The plan to launch a consumer-level self-driving car might announce that Apple will be adopting a action that is agnate to Tesla, which would be a bit arguable for a aggregation that takes pride in accession very little data from customers.

It can also announce that like Tesla, Apple will roll out its self-driving technology in a phased manner, gradually developing and fine-tuning its AI algorithms as it collects more data from its cars. This, too, would go adjoin Apple’s nature of carrying near-perfect articles right off the bat. That, of course, can change if the aggregation abstracts out addition way to aggregate hundreds of millions of miles worth of active data before 2024

Who will buy Apple’s self-driving car?

According to Reuters’ report, Apple aims to build “a agent for consumers.” In this respect, too, Apple’s access is like that of Tesla and unlike Waymo and Uber, which plan to launch robo-taxi services.

But affairs anon to consumers raises the question, how much will the car cost? The criterion we have is Tesla’s electric cartage with Autopilot support, which cost amid $35,000 and $120,000. But while Tesla is using a pure–computer vision approach, relying only on deep acquirements and minor help from a front radar and sensors to cross roads, Apple plans to accommodate lidars on its self-driving cars.

According to a 2017 estimate, lidars used in self-driving cars can cost amid $8,000 and $85,000, and each self-driving car requires several lidars, which can sometimes triple the price of the car. This might force Apple to amend its artefact commitment action and shift to accouterment an free ride-hailing account in the future.

But the industry is alteration rapidly. There are now $100 and $500 lidars, and Apple has developed its own lidar scanners at a cost that makes it affordable to embed them in the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro devices. For its self-driving car, Apple will be using its own lidars and accomplice with other manufacturers. So, the consumer-level Apple car will apparently be more big-ticket than the Tesla, but by 2024, the costs of the accouterments might have alone to the point that the aberration will be negligible.

Giving up full control?

According to the Reuters report, Apple is attractive to outsource the accomplishment of the car, which would be in adverse to the company’s addition to advance full ascendancy over its artefact stack. Apple controls the hardware, operating system, and the app store of its phones, watches, TVs, and computers.

But even though Apple has decades of acquaintance in active accomplishment plants and managing circuitous supply chains, architecture cars is a altered claiming altogether, which would accreditation partnering with a car manufacturer.

An addition would be for Apple to access an automotive company. With more than $200 billion in liquid assets, the aggregation could easily buy many top-tier carmakers, including Accepted Motors and Volkswagen, and build cartage at scale.

The future of Apple’s self-driving car?

apple logo

Throughout its history, Apple has set an archetype of design, performance, and backbone (and high prices). Today, companies that bear great articles are compared to Apple (e.g., the Apple of gaming, the Apple of cars, etc.). But this history of accomplishment has also set high expectations for Apple. Where consumers allow other companies to fail and recover, they expect Apple to be flawless. And at the moment, self-driving car technology is annihilation but flawless.

This might partly be the reason that Apple has been aloof until afresh and only leaked advice about its self-driving car activity through bearding sources. It gives the aggregation the maneuverability to backtrack on parts of its plans as the industry and its own activity develop. The self-driving car industry is alteration rapidly, and I wouldn’t be afraid if what we see in 2024 is very altered from the antecedent report.

But what’s for sure is that Apple is austere about creating a self-driving car, and its assurance can have a austere impact on the future of busline and the aggregation itself.

This commodity was originally appear by Ben Dickson on TechTalks, a advertisement that examines trends in technology, how they affect the way we live and do business, and the problems they solve. But we also altercate the evil side of technology, the darker implications of new tech and what we need to look out for. You can read the aboriginal commodity here.



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Appear January 10, 2021 — 13:00 UTC

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