Mat Honan at Buzzfeed was invited to ride in an autonomous Google car. In his article, he says the following (emphasis mine):
There are a lot of questions we should be asking about self-driving cars (Will they be privately or publicly owned? Both? Will nonautonomous vehicles be banned? When? How will we secure them from hacking and viruses and malware and plain old-fashioned bugs? How can we preserve our location privacy? How will they operate in disaster and evacuation scenarios? How will they be insured? And purely in terms of Google, if it isn’t getting into the manufacturing business, and given that it doesn’t operate purely altruistically, how does it intend to turn a profit off of this highly expensive research project it has embarked on? What will it track? What will it monitor? What will it do inside those cute little cars?**)
With these questions, he explained to me why Apple would work on a self-driving car: security and privacy. Of course, they’ll intend to make profit as well, but not at the expense of these two things.