Apple is on a hiring spree. The company is looking for people who are skilled in the areas of mapping, geospatial information services, navigation and fleet management. Over 70 job listings pertaining to these specializations have been posted by Apple in the last month alone. And as CNBC notes, that’s a lot of jobs revolving around just one discipline. So, we can safely assume the technology giant has something big up its sleeve.
We are already aware that Apple has roped in some very, very smart people from Google’s satellite business, NASA and Tesla to its talent pool earlier this year. And that it’s painstakingly trying to improve its Maps product is also no secret. More recently, the Apple Mapping Van has been spotted driving around with four LiDAR sensors, capturing a 360-degree view of its surroundings. Who knows, we might even see 3D street view in Apple Maps in the times to come!
‘Big investments’ in augmented reality and AI
Meanwhile, on the Q3 earnings call earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook was quite bullish about the company’s future in the field of augmented reality and autonomous systems – both of which require serious expertise in the field of location and positioning technologies.
Detailing that Apple’s ARKit, a new set of tools for developers to create augmented reality apps, has captured the imagination of the developer community, Cook said, “We believe AR has broad mainstream applicability across education, entertainment, interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven’t even thought of. With hundreds of millions of people actively using iPhone and iPad today, iOS will become the world’s biggest augmented reality platform as soon as iOS 11 ships.”
When quizzed about Apple’s focus on self-driving technology, Cook didn’t comment on the company’s interest in autonomous vehicles, but did acknowledge that it is “very focused on autonomous systems from a core technology point of view.”
Cook admitted that a “large project” is going on in this field and that the company has been pouring in big investments to make it a success. “From our point of view, autonomy is the mother of all AI projects. And the autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways and a vehicle is only one,” Cook said.