Apple’s AI team gives researchers a sneak peek at several driving projects.


We’re used to Apple product launches and demos having all the look and feel of a top-billing rock star event, but the company has a lot more going on than that. At times, Apple stages invite-only, industry-only product demos, such as its recent hush-hush event that demonstrated its current progress on self-driving car technology.


To say there was a lot going on at this event would be a massive understatement. Not only were vehicles actually put into action, but many different vital elements of AI-driven transportation on display as well. Those different elements may prove necessary to this field, but also have farther reaching applications.


Apple Gave a Private Demo of Its Latest Self-Driving Tech

Apple gave a private demo of its latest self-driving tech.



VolexNet recognizes pedestrians and vehicles from 3D data


According to an article on the event by Will Knight for Technology Review, for example, “Other projects not previously revealed included a method for classifying different objects on the road using cameras placed on top of a vehicle, and a method of using camera footage to track its position very precisely. This technique, known as visual SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping), could be used for autonomous driving but also for augmented and virtual reality.”


There was even tie-in between the vehicles’ recognition systems and how those have been applied as the Face ID feature in the latest iteration of the iPhone. Other implications came about in relation to a new open-source tool called Turi Create that is intended to foster AI development.


Looking ahead


Of course, there was some sales pitch going on, but it wasn’t the kind we’re used to from these events. According to sources present, the whole thing had an undercurrent of recruitment, complete with reassurances that coming on board with Apple in no way stifles creativity or opportunity from outside entities. It may have been a nod to the expertise of those in attendance, or another nudge-nudge effort in the competitive nature of tech giants. Either way, exciting things are in the works from Cupertino, as always.