Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has always had an interest in the autonomous driving field, but the company is geared more towards building the technology rather than producing the vehicles itself. Apple CEO, Tim Cook confirmed over the summer that Apple is building technology for self driving vehicles.
A document submitted by Yin Zhou, an AI researcher and developer at Apple, on arXiv details the autonomous technology and the direction Apple may be headed in.
In the document, Zhou proposed a new technology called VoxelNet, a generic 3D detection network that unifies feature extraction and bounding box prediction into a single stage. VoxelNet would be a far more superior sensory detection than the previous detection technologies.
VoxelNet is a 3D detection network that combines extraction and bounding box predictions into one. It specifically divides a cloud into equally spaced three dimensional voxels and transforms a group points into a unified layer.
Using the new technology, Zhou says researchers were able to achieve better results in detection, such as pedestrians or cyclists, as opposed to using outdated LiDAR technology.
Zhou also writes that the network learns an “effective discriminative” representation of objects with different figures, which will bolster the autonomous tech even more.
But even with Apple’s breakthrough technology, it doesn’t mean much. Other companies who have begun self driving technology years ago are already ahead of the race and have found their own methods to combat two dimensional issues with sensory detection.
Apple will face competition against others who have already made a leap forward such as Tesla, Ford, BMW, Waymo, Uber, and many others.
For now, it may seem that Apple will remain discreet with its self driving technology until more advances are made.