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An Apple Autonomous Car Is Coming

By Vlad Tverdohleb , Jul 23, 2015 09:40 PM EDT

Apple recently made an interesting hire that gives as a hint that an Apple care is soon to come. This is one of the year's hottest buzz and tech rumors. Apple may be working on a project to design their own autonomous car. It seems that, considering the fact that the tech giant is making some special recruitment efforts, it seems that these rumors are very plausible. According to the Wall Street Journal, recently the company has hired Doug Betts, a reputable expert in automotive industry who had worked previously at Chrysler, Nissan, and Toyota. Why would a tech company like Apple hire an automotive industry expert if not working on a car project?

It is still unconfirmed what will be Betts' function at Apple, but the automotive expert just changed his title on LinkedIn to "Operations - Apple Inc.", according to Business Insider. However, since then Betts has deleted his profile altogether.

This is not the only expert from the auto industry recruited recently by Apple. For instance, the company also hired earlier this year Paul Furgale, a specialist in artificial intelligence, robotics, as well in as autonomous vehicles. His previous jobs were at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology's Autonomous Systems Lab.

The rumors about Apple's secret project to design its own driverless vehicle started back in February this year, when it was reported that the high tech company was having hundreds of its employees assigned to work on a minivan vehicle project with the code name Project Titan. An anonymous Apple employee also gave some hints around the same time about the smart vehicle development project, declaring that some of Tesla's employees were joining Apple. Just a few months later, in March, Tesla came to announce its plans to integrate into some of its electric cars some advanced self-driving technology.

From all these rumors we can presume that Apple may also be working on self-driving electric cars. Time will confirm or infirm this presumption. The company did not make yet any official comments supporting this hypothesis. We can only hope the rumors are true, because competition on the market can only improve the self-driving technology.

Despite some isolate critics, most of the analysts and experts from auto industry agree on the fact that the autonomous cars have strong potential for improving road safety, traffic flow, and reducing the environmental impact and pollution. If designed to communicate with smart road systems and other cars they can fulfill all these expectations.

Until now, we witnessed two different approaches in the field of autonomous cars. One is the self-driving robot car of Google, which finds its way on the road by using on-board sensors. The second approach is that of the connected cooperative car, which can work driverless by communicating with the road infrastructure and with other cars, alternative that was chosen by the European policy makers. It remain to be seen what is Apple choice, but it is more likely they will go on the same path as Google and design a self-driving robot car based on on-board sensors.

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