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Tim Cook says Apple is working on a ‘large project’ around autonomous systems

Earlier this year, Tim Cook called self-driving car technology “incredibly exciting” and said that Apple is focusing heavily on autonomous systems. During Apple’s earnings call today, however, Cook offered some more color on Apple’s investments in autonomy…

Cook explained that Apple is very much making a big investment in autonomous systems and called autonomy “the mother of all AI projects.” Furthermore, he said that Apple has a “large project going on” related to the technology, though he wouldn’t expand on that so it’s unclear what exactly that project is.

“We are very focused on autonomous systems,” Cook said. “We do have a large project going, and are making a big investment in this. From our point of view, autonomy is sort of the mother of all AI projects.”

While he had previously praised self-driving car technology, Cook today said that autonomy has much deeper implementations than just that, perhaps hinting at Apple’s wide focus:

“Autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways. A vehicle is only one, but there are many different areas of it. And I don’t want to go any further with that,” he said.

There are of course numerous other ways in which Apple could take advantage of autonomous systems. For instance, there are many ways it could be implemented into supply chain and manufacturing efforts, while it could also be used for drones and other consumer-facing products.

It’s been reported in the past that Apple has a vested interest in self-driving car technology and they even obtained self-driving car licenses in California, so it seems likely that Apple is working on that as well as other implementations of autonomous systems. Cook has been very vocal about his support for autonomy, which is somewhat out of character for Apple and likely signals the company’s legitimate interest in the technology.

Where Apple’s “large project” in autonomous systems ends up going remains to be seen, but in the meantime I’m sure there will be a host of speculation. Where would you like to see the company implement autonomy? Let us know down in the comments and read all of the details from Apple’s earnings call in our live blog right here.

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