Apple gets permit to test self-driving cars in California

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - Apple's interest in self-driving cars is becoming more transparent.

Apple declined to comment about whether Apple is now testing autonomous vehicles on public roads and pointed to a previous statement that it is "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems".

Now there's a new development via Business Insider: Apple has registered with the state of California to test self-driving vehicles.

The California DMV updated its website on Friday, adding Apple to over 30 other companies testing self-driving vehicles in the state, including Tesla and Google.

The permit, awarded by California's Department of Motor Vehicles, allows Apple to test self-driving cars on public roads in the largest USA state, adding it to a list of other companies with permits that includes Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Tesla Inc. Lately, the autonomous vehicle project seems to be in flux.

Apple is still in the auto business. While today's new development doesn't fully suggest the electric auto is back on the table, it does show Apple is actively working on autonomous vehicle technology in some capacity. Recent reporting suggests that the company is no longer attempting to build its own autonomous, electric auto to compete with companies like Tesla, but is instead focused on developing self-driving software it can deploy in partnership with existing carmakers.

Apple's self-driving technology is being developed in secret company offices in Sunnyvale, Calif., a short drive from its main Cupertino campus, Bloomberg News has reported. Apple began to focus more on the self-driving technology past year after rehiring former hardware executive Bob Mansfield to lead the project.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment to the Wall Street Journal about the permit, referring the paper to its letter to NHTSA.

  • Arturo Norris