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Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook has, for the first time, confirmed the company's plans for developing self-driving cars.

"We're focusing on autonomous systems," Cook told Bloomberg Television on June 5. "We sort of see it as the mother of all AI [artificial intelligence] projects."

Why this matters: Although Apple has been rumored to be working on some sort of self-driving car technology for the past few years, the Bloomberg interview marks the first time Cook has discussed the specifics of Apple's autonomous vehicle plans. Last week, Cook hinted that Apple may have AI news coming soon when he told MIT Technology Review the company shouldn't be discounted as being on the cutting edge of AI technology just because they "don't wan't to talk about" their plans.

What we previously knew about Apple's plans:

  • Apple has been working on building its own self-driving vehicle since 2014, in an effort known as "Project Titan," but last year the company decided to refocus their plans to developing the backend autonomous driving technology.
  • In April, the company received a permit from the California DMV to test self-driving cars in the state. The permit also revealed they had hired six former NASA employees to test self-driving cars.
  • A filing with the state revealed new details about what their AI plans might entail.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
29 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.