Autonomous car Stories October 27, 2015

While we can’t say for sure that an Apple Car will ever go on sale, it’s a certainty by this point that the company is devoting substantial development resources to the project. Tim Cook said recently that there would be “massive change” in the car industry, and that “autonomous driving becomes much more important.”

But as a recent opinion piece on sister site Electrek argued, and Elon Musk warned, actually manufacturing a car is massively more complex than making consumer electronics devices. Apple will therefore be looking for partners to pull together different elements of the car. Re/code has put together an interesting look at the most likely candidates …  expand full story

Autonomous car Stories October 24, 2015

Following CEO Tim Cook saying that the car industry is ripe for a major disruption, Re/code reports that Apple has hired Jonathan Cohen, Nvidia’s director of deep learning. While many only associate Nvidia with phone and computer chips, the company has recently been entering the car market, specifically in the form of autonomous vehicles.

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Autonomous car Stories February 20, 2015

What a difference a couple of weeks can make. We knew on February 5th that Apple was offering quarter-million dollar signing bonuses to Tesla engineers to persuade them to jump ship, but the idea that the company planned to make a car was just a vague rumor. Fast-forward a fortnight and it’s now being treated as established fact.

Our own exclusive reporting on the sheer range of automotive hires by Apple makes it clear that the company is, at the very least, seriously investigating the possibility, with a 1,000-strong team reportedly approved by Tim Cook. And while we need to bear in mind the cautionary note in Seth Weintraub’s piece that there’s a big difference between an R&D project and a real, live product, at this stage an Apple car seems more likely than not.

But if Bloomberg is right that Apple plans to launch a car by 2020, I think it’s important to recognize what form that car will and won’t take (spoiler: it won’t look like the above) …  expand full story

Autonomous car Stories July 7, 2014

Google’s co-founders on how the company differs from Apple

In a ‘fireside chat’ with leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin discuss everything from the moment they nearly sold the company to why they are cautious about moving into health technology. One interesting angle for Apple fans was how the two contrasted their approach to that of Apple.

Brin, who runs Google X, said that the experimental wing of the company was about making a number of bets and hoping that some of them paid off.

From my perspective – running Google X – that’s my job, is to invest in a number of opportunities, each one of which may be a big bet. […]

If you look at the self-driving cars, for example, I hope that that could really transform transportation around the world [but] it’s got many technical and policy risks. But if you are willing to make a number of bets like that, you’ve got to hope that some of them will pay off.

Page contrasted this approach with Apple, which focuses on a very small number of products.

I would always have this debate, actually, with Steve Jobs. He’d be like, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ And I’d be like, ‘Yeah that’s true.’ And he was right, in some sense. But I think the answer to that – which I only came to recently, as we were talking about this stuff – is that if you’re doing things that are highly interrelated […] at some point, they have to get integrated.

Another difference between the two companies, say Page and Brin, is in their view of technology in the health sector. Apple’s long-awaited iWatch is of course believed to be equipped with multiple health and fitness sensors, and the Health app is a key feature of iOS 8. Google says that while it does have some health-related ambitions – such as glucose-reading contact lenses – it views the field with considerable caution.

Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It’s just a painful business to be in. It’s just not necessarily how I want to spend my time. Even though we do have some health projects, and we’ll be doing that to a certain extent. But I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.

You can watch the complete interview in the video above.

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