Apple AI director shows off its self-driving technology


Apple's "Project Titan" autonomous vehicles

Apple’s director of AI research, Ruslan Salakhutdinov, gave his peers a brief look at the company’s self-driving platform this week.

Salakhutdinov showcased Apple’s new AI system that identifies cars, pedestrians, and drivable parts of the road. He demonstrated how the system could work even when it’s raining outside, or when pedestrians and other hazards aren’t in direct line of sight. The system can even figure out where a pedestrian might be.

Looking through the AI’s eyes (Credit: Apple)

“If you asked me five years ago, I would be very skeptical of saying ‘Yes you could do that,’” Salakhutdinov said.

The AI director had previously revealed data from another project in a research paper posted online last month. Software was trained to identify pedestrians and cyclists using 3D scanners called LiDARs that are used on most autonomous vehicles.

 

Apple’s “VoxelNet” method uses a network to group LiDAR data points into bounding boxes that a self-driving car would recognise as obstacles to avoid.

Salakhutdinov gave his speech at a machine-learning conference called NIPS, which has been held for the last thirty-one years and has grown exponentially over recent years, attracting 8,000 people this year.

Apple hasn’t been shy to talk about its work in autonomous systems. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said the company is working on the “mother of all” AI projects, calling them “incredibly exciting”. Apple has also pushed for changes to governmental policy on self-driving car testing. Most recently, a report said that Apple was officially testing self-driving cars in California.

 

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Zaid Shahid

Zaid is BroFeed's big bro. He studies biotechnology at York University, and in his spare time writes about South Asian casteism, powerlifting, and all kinds of gadgets. He's also a major food nerd.

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