In the Wall Street Journal’s WSJD Live event in California, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, mentioned that when he looked at the automobile, what he saw was that software became an increasingly important part of the car of the future. On top of that, he added that people would see that autonomous driving became much more important.
According to Mr Luis Gargate, a computational physicist and business development manager at Critical Software, there are up to 70 small computers which are already exists in a car to do the things that a car supposed to do nowadays. These small computers control different functions such as brake or accelerate, door locks, infotainment system and last but not least the radio. Critical Software is a Portuguese company which develops critical safety systems for automotives, railway and spacecraft.
With the idea of self driving cars, on top of the functionalities that a car can do nowadays, the car should be able to drive itself with minimal or zero intervention from human and it should also be able to avoid collision as safety become its priority. This can be achieved with a few additional new systems such as sensors, radars, camera, LIDAR and of course memory to process the data from the input systems.
Everyone in the automobiles industry from the traditional carmakers to technology companies such as Apple, Google or Uber, predict that connectivity and automation will be the next step for automobiles.
To achieve this, Apple has hired several experts such as Megan McClain who used to work as Volkswagen engineer and has experience in developing automated driving as well as Vinay Palakkode who was a graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. Uber, on the other hand, opened a robotics centre at Pittsburgh and hired researchers from Carnegie Mellon University too. Apparently Carnegie Mellon University is a hub of automated driving research. Uber is reported to also working with University of Arizona to build mapping technology that is used to compliment a self driving car system.