New details about Apple’s autonomous car revealed

Apple

Cupertino giant Apple has provided its audience with a rare glimpse into the machine learning technology that is being built at the company. The firm held a private workshop for well-known Artificial Intelligence (AI) researchers last week. The attendees were provided with knowledge of Apple’s plans regarding self-driving technology. The company’s Director of AI, Mr. Ruslan Salakhutdinov discussed numerous projects relating to autonomous driving. The event took place on Friday, 8th December at Long Beach, California. The private workshop was a part of Apple’s Neural Information Processing Systems conference.

The Neural Information Processing Systems conference, as reported by Apple Insider, is majorly focused on AI-related innovations made this year. The event naturally attracted attention from experts in the field including the ones from Apple’s rival tech companies. The game consisted of numerous talks, some of which were even put together with the objective to portray Apple’s potential to explore AI technology. One of the widely-spoken about an AI-oriented project under Apple is called, “LiDAR object detection.” Salakhutdinov conducted a dedication session wherein he spoke about the project at length. As per information revealed via the project’s November research paper, LiDAR object detection is about Apple’s camera-based recognition system. The special function of the system is that it comes with the ability to discern objects even in harsh weather conditions including rains. The system is also being designed to identify common pedestrians that might pass the way. The system will carry out this function even in the darkest of the hours in a day. Salakhutdinov was incredibly excited to talk about this project. “If you asked me five years ago, I would be very skeptical of saying, ‘Yes, you could do that,’” he commented.

As noted by Digital Trends, Salakhutdinov further went on to talk about Apple’s research on putting together an autonomous driving technology. He made mention of a technique called, “SLAM,” that will be designed to detect pedestrians and avoid crashing into them from a longer distance. Other applications that Apple is planning on integrating with its future transport facility include simultaneous localization abilities and mapping to generate a sense of direction. The Cupertino giant is also rumored to be creating 3D maps of major cities in the United States of America. This is being done with the objective to undertake relevant information regarding traffic lights, road markings and other signals across cities that the car might be transported through. The company, however, hasn’t entirely explained this matter as yet.

Salakdinov disclosed another vital project that Apple is currently working on. While it was already spoken about last month in a paper posted online by Apple themselves, Salakdinov provided added details regarding the same. It appears that Apple’s autonomous technology might make use of 3D point cloud information to identify objects around the vehicle. The Cupertino giant is being rumored to include a method for classifying different objects on the road through the use of cameras, which will be placed on the top portion of the vehicle. The vehicle will subsequently be taught to track its position through the camera footage. This could also be used for virtual and augmented reality technologies by Apple.

This is not the first time that Apple has surfaced the news for venturing into automated driving technology. The firm hasn’t publicly acknowledged the project; there have been endless details about it surfacing online now and then. Apple only recently applied for a permit to test automated vehicles, thereby confirming these rumors.

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