Scientists At Apple Inc. (AAPL) Just Published Significant Self-Driving Research

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Apple computer scientists revealed a new method that self-driving could use to detect pedestrians and cyclists in a recently-published research paper, giving a rare glimpse into the USA technology giant's work in the field. While CEO Tim cook has called self-driving vehicles "the mother of all A.I. projects", the company filed a self-driving auto testing plan with regulators in California back in April.

"Most existing methods in LiDAR-based 3D detection rely on hand-crafted feature representations, for example, a bird's eye view projection".

Autonomous vehicles use a combination of 2D cameras and LiDAR (a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distance ranges) to navigate the world around them.

Tests were only conducted on a computer simulation, but Apple said it was able to outperform "state-of-the-art LIDAR-based 3D detection methods by a large margin".

Apple Self Driving Technology More Details Revealed

A paper by two Apple AI researchers on improvements to robot navigation is fueling speculation that the computer giant is delving deeper into the business of self-driving cars. While the units supply depth information, their low resolution makes it hard to detect small, faraway objects without help from a normal camera linked to it in real time. In the paper, Zhou and Tuzel proposed a new software approach called VoxelNet, which would help computers detect 3D objects. Yielding to that dynamic, Apple in July established the Apple Machine Learning Journal for its researchers.

However, Apple's research claims that VoxelNet software allows LiDAR to better detect such objects-including cyclists and pedestrians-on its own.

The development helps resurrect hope that Apple could one day launch a self-driving vehicle of its own. That's why this week's news about Apple scientists publicly disclosing their autonomous driving research findings is so surprising.

Apple spent most of 2016 coming to grips with the reality that it couldn't build a auto, but this year, the tech conglomerate showed it still has ambitions to develop autonomous driving technology.

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