Apple approved to test Self-Driving cars in California

Apple will soon take its self-driving vehicle software platform to public streets for the first time, a major step that gets the world's largest technology company into a crowded race to reshape transportation.

The same permit granted to Apple was also granted to 29 other companies that include Mercedes, Volkswagen, BMW, Bosch, Nissan, Honda and Ford among others.

This comes with the news that Apple has been granted permission by California's Department of Motor Vehicles to test self-driving cars on the streets of California.

Many companies have said the first self-driving cars will launch in 2020, but some experts believe it may take much longer due to regulatory challenges.

The California DMV's commitment to regulating the driverless auto industry was on display late past year, when it threatened to sue Uber after the company launched a driverless vehicle program on the streets of San Francisco. So, why do they need a permit for testing?

Late a year ago, Apple submitted a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in which it said that it was "investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation". And Apple has been searching for its next act for a while, one that will take it beyond its mainstay phones, tablets and personal computers. It is also working on Apple integration into vehicle infotainment systems. The company keeps secretive about the project, which is code named Project Titan.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles granted clearance for trials of the autonomous driving technology on public roads, according to a notice on the DMV's website on Friday.

With $246 billion in cash, Apple also could easily afford to buy technology that accelerates its development of self-driving cars.

This permit isn't the first time Apple's company name has been listed in this space, having previously made government submissions - and it's unlikely you'll see Lexus vehicles with an Apple logo on the side.

Encountering self-driving cars in California is a daily occurrence for those living around Silicon Valley.

In December, Apple had already written to the US Federal Road Safety Agency (NHTSA) to advise on draft guidelines for stand-alone cars.

  • Arturo Norris