Apple CEO Tim Cook hinted in an interview released Monday of the future of the much-anticipated Apple car - including the possibility that automated vehicle technology would most likely be a feature.
"The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view," Cook told Kara Swisher in an interview on the "Sway" podcast. "If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there's lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we'll see what Apple does."
Cook was cautious not to disclose too much, refusing to address Swisher's direct query about whether Apple plans to manufacture a car or the technology that goes inside the car.
Rumors about the Apple Car have been circulating for years. After purchasing the automated vehicle startup Drive.ai in 2019, the company was expected to release some kind of concrete news about its automotive ambitions at some point, but nothing substantial has emerged, even after Apple reportedly brought in additional staff from Tesla to bolster its human resources.
CNBC reported earlier this year that Apple was pursuing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to develop an Apple-branded self-driving car at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. According to sources familiar with Apple's interest in Hyundai, the company wants to collaborate with an automaker that will enable Apple to control the software and hardware that will go into the vehicle.
The two companies never reached a deal and talks fell apart in February, according to news reports. That hasn't stopped the flood of rumors and stories about Apple and its plans, which have previously been linked to suppliers, automakers like Nissan and even startups.
It is unknown what the Apple car would look like, but as a passenger vehicle rather than a robo-taxi or delivery vehicle, it will likely compete with Tesla.