Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak may no longer work for the company in any official capacity, but he has stayed on as a tech advisor and sounding board. When the Woz says something it usually isn’t without merit, which is why it was interesting to learn he thinks self-driving vehicles aren’t going to happen.
Previously, Apple was said to have hundreds of employees working on an electrified, autonomous vehicle as part of Project Titan. Despite having the necessary testing permits, the company shifted toward developing software for self-driving applications in 2016. CEO Tim Cook confirmed that was the firm’s new focus in 2017 but analysts and industry insiders have continued to claim the Apple Car is still quietly in development. Maybe someone should tell that to Wozniak because he seems to think the entire idea is bogus.
Confessing that he purchased a Tesla because he initially believed in its autonomous vision, Wozniak told CNBC he gradually became disenfranchised with the idea.
“I wanted to be part of this lead in to autonomous driving,” he explained on Fast Money Halftime Report last week. “I wanted to be a part of that crowd and I kept upgrading my Tesla to one that would have a camera and radar. And then one that would have eight cameras and a radar, because the first one would never do it. And then I gave up and I said it’s really not going to happen.”
While Wozniak praised Tesla’s ability to produce effective electric vehicles and complement its vehicles having the foresight to establish a charging infrastructure beyond city centers, he said he was fed up with the industry lying about autonomous vehicles.
However, he did claim to support advancements in “assistive driving” technology that can allow cars to “spot red lights, and stop signs and avoid some of the accidents today.”
This came with the same warning we like to issue, though. Wozniak said motorists shouldn’t presume driving aids are bulletproof and urged individuals “not to lose sight of the fact you’re not going to get a car that drives itself.”
It may only be one man’s hot take on the issue but Steve is a tech icon and likely someone others will listen to, despite his not being an expert on autonomous systems. It’s also further evidence that many are becoming disillusioned with the concept of self-driving and all of the lofty promises being made by automakers and technology firms. Although, the brunt of Wozniak’s ire seemed to be targeted at Tesla’s AV program.
“Tesla makes so many mistakes,” he said. “It really convinces me that auto piloting and auto steering car driving itself is not going to happen.”
[Image: Ford Motor Company]