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Apple poised to take on Tesla as Tim Cook hints he's working on autonomous cars

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The technology company has long been linked with making a self-driving electric vehicle under its Project Titan. Around 5,000 employees are said to be devoted to the research and development project, but the makers of the iPhone have remained tight-lipped over plans to develop their own vehicle. Now though, Mr Cook has portrayed self-driving cars as the ideal match for his company – fuelling more speculation.

Speaking on The New York Times’ Sway podcast, he said: “An autonomous car is a robot and so there are a lot of things you can do with autonomy, we will see what Apple does.

“We love to integrate hardware, software and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs.”

Asked directly about plans to build one, Mr Cook stopped short of committing himself, adding that Apple investigates “so many things internally” and not all of them reach mass production. 

Mr Cook hinted that an option could be for Apple to build an autonomous-driving technology platform used by carmakers, which would still put him in direct competition with Mr Musk, the CEO of Tesla.

But despite this, Mr Cook expressed his admiration for the entrepreneur and second-richest man in the world.

He said: “Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the electric vehicle space.”

Apple first revealed its self-driving technology aspirations in 2016 and Mr Cook has since said he sees autonomous driving systems as a “core technology” for the future. 

In 2018, Apple hired Doug Field, then Tesla’s senior vice president of engineering, possibly to accelerate the work on self-driving cars. 

READ MORE: Elon Musk ‘eyeing UK site currently under construction’ for huge Tesla factory

It comes after Mr Musk was said to be “eyeing up” a move to build electric cars and batteries in the UK.

He is reportedly considering a move to build a “gigafactory” at a currently under construction “smart campus” in Somerset, called Gravity. 

Mr Musk was first linked with the site after he reportedly flew his private jet to the UK last summer to examine potential locations.

And Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng appeared to give the plans the green light, stating last month that Somerset “has the manufacturing skill and competence to be able to sustain an excellent gigafactory,” adding that the Government is “considering and looking” at the site.



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