Apple is building an autonomous car system

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company is focusing on developing an autonomous car system

The iPhone maker had hired more than 1,000 engineers to work on Project Titan

 

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Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook said the company is focusing on developing an autonomous car system in his most detailed comments on the tech giant’s automotive plans after hiring roughly 1,000 engineers to work on ‘Project Titan,’ in 2014, Bloomberg reports, citing an interview with Cook.

The company, which originally sought to build its own self-driving car, is shifting its focus to the underlying technology as Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Waymo unit has partnered with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) and Lyft to develop the technology and automakers from BMW (BMWYY) to General Motors (GM) seek to acquire autonomous vehicle startups.

The iPhone maker had hired more than 1,000 engineers to work on Project Titan, as the car team is known internally, after it started in 2014.  Apple secured a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April to test three self-driving sports-utility vehicles, photos of which emerged several weeks later.

A half-dozen vehicles had been surreptitiously testing the autonomous technology on public roads in and around the San Francisco Bay area for at least a year, according to someone familiar with Project Titan.

In December, Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealing the company’s interest in automotive technology. In the letter, Kenner wrote about the company’s excitement surrounding the potential for automated systems in fields like transportation.

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