That Apple has been quietly working on its own version of vehicle autopilot technology, is a matter upon which many have long been talking, but the giant corporation still maintained its polite silent; revealing nothing about any such project.
Now, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, the head of the department of research for AI at Apple, has published a report, which describes the principles of the company’s future autopilot technology, as well as some of the work that has so far been done. Many of his words are have simply echoed those of companies who have been more open transparent about their projects of other companies, but there were also really interesting innovations.
For example, Apple has created a unique object recognition system that does an excellent job, despite difficult situations. Even if the camera lens is covered in rain drops, which makes it much more difficult for the program to view and recognize objects, the system will still accurately calculate the distance to objects, and determine with precision the exact location of said object – be it vehicle, property or pedestrian. This functionality extends to system recognising a pedestrian about to cross into traffic when half-hidden by another vehicle or object, allowing the autopilot to exercise string judgement and make clear decisions in difficult scenarios when it is required to act quickly and decisively to avoid incident.
The car positioning system is also very much worthy of note, working by localizing the location of the machine on the terrain, while simultaneously creating a detailed three-dimensional map of the environment using the car’s own sensors.
At the moment, Apple’s main goal is the production of self-managed shuttles for its own staff – they will help employees and guests move faster around the giant Apple campus and its environs. Own-make cars are not yet produced by Apple, so it is unclear whether shuttles will become the autopilot’s only application, or whether the it will be used in other developments in the future.