Apple officials in charge of artificial intelligence have discussed their work and in particular their application to autonomous driving. They were attending this weekend at the NIPS 2017 (Neural Information Processing Systems) conference in Long Beach, California.

Apple Autonomous Car

Ruslan Salakhutdinov, a professor at Carnegie Mellon and Director of Research in Artificial Intelligence, reviewed several topics, reports Wired: the use of camera and sensor data to detect pedestrians in urban areas; help a car to go alone in a geographical area that is unknown to him or develop a detailed 3D map of his immediate environment.

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Ruslan Salakhutdinov returned to the content of a recent publication in which Apple said it had improved the detection of objects, pedestrians, and cyclists. He showed a software that identifies cars, pedestrians and moving parts of a street by means of onboard cameras. Even in the rain, the system continued to clearly distinguish people and identify them even when they were partially hidden by cars parked on the side.

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The progress made by machine learning now makes such things possible, the professor observed, whereas only five years ago he would have been skeptical of their feasibility. Other demonstrations focused on the ability of a car to move to an unknown location and draw a map ( simultaneous location and mapping or SLAM). To know how to build a 3D representation of an urban environment with its signs and traffic lights.Or, to equip a car with a dynamic adaptation capacity, illustrated by a vehicle developing its way around a pedestrian.

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Apple’s presence at this show had another goal of recruiting new talent. Carlos Guestrin, a professor at the University of Washington and director of machine learning at Apple, praised the work systems and databases available to researchers tempted to join Cupertino. One thing has not been said, and that’s the main thing, that’s what Apple plans to do with the results of these efforts. Tim Cook said this summer that his company was interested in “autonomous systems” in the broad sense, and not just applied to driving.

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At the same time, Apple is pursuing activities closely related to the car, to the open in the streets of California as on more discreet test tracks. This summer too, the New York Times revealed a project of autonomous shuttles that Apple would initially use with its employees to drive them from their homes to their workplaces.

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