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What would an autonomous Apple Car mean for Tesla?



I’m not sure which podcasts Elon Musk is listening to. But I hope he caught Kara Swisher’s “Sway” today, because it definitely applies to him.

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Swisher and the two discussed, among other things, the mysterious Apple Car.

Details are scarce, and I come right in front: Cook did not give away anything big or speak out. But he danced around the subject enough to leave some impression.

First, talking about Apple Car, Cook told Swisher:

The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view. If you somehow go back, the car is in many ways a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And then there are many things you can do with autonomy. And we̵

7;ll see what Apple does.

We already suspected that the Apple Car would be an autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicle, but it’s always nice to hear Cook confirm it. Unfortunately, when he talks about how you can “do many things with autonomy”, it does things back again. The company has still not revealed whether Apple Car will be a car, a van, a robot taxi or shuttle service, or something completely different.

Luckily, Cook left for another juicy treat – although it may have been unintentional. He picked up Elon Musk, and if you ask me, it tells us who he thinks the competition is: Tesla.

Here is the quote:

I have never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he has built. I think Tesla has done an incredible job of not only establishing the lead, but keeping the lead for so long in the EV room. So I really appreciate them.

Is it just me, or does it sound like the kind of thing Apple could have said to the world’s best producer of MP3 players a year or two before it released the iPod?

On the one hand, it is difficult to imagine a vehicle that surpasses Tesla in form and function. We do not have to go faster than they can, they are beautiful and they are relatively cheap to buy while being environmentally friendly.

But on the other hand, Tesla has not really done much in the way of autonomy. It’s almost ridiculous that the company calls the software “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving” when you consider that both require an attentive driver behind the wheel all the time.

It’s very easy to imagine Apple’s AI team coming up with a product that puts Tesla’s lousy autonomous offer to shame – do not forget that Ian Goodfellow is at Cupertino now.

And realistically, Apple does not have to beat Tesla to make an EV. In fact, it is likely that Apple will not even make its own vehicles first. I would bet that the company is still pursuing another manufacturer to work with after a reported Hyundai-Kia deal fell through.

It just needs to fulfill the promises Tesla failed to give people a car that drives itself safely or offer a robot taxi service to the public.

In a winning battle for the driverless future, who do you want to put your money on?

H / t: Rebecca Bellan, Tech Crunch

Published April 5, 2021 – 23:55 UTC




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