Apple handed self-driving test permit

The Cupertino based consumer electronics giant received a permit from the DMV that allows them to test self-driving cars on California roads.

Apple became the 30th company granted the permission on Friday after the DMV updated its list of manufacturers testing self-driving cars.

But wait. Didn't Apple scrap its Project Titan (the one it never acknowledged until it said it was not going to make any self-driving cars) and start focusing only on the software part of autonomous driving technology?

The permit covers three vehicles - all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs - and six individual drivers.

The thing is, the permit is for the cars themselves, but actually applies to the technology behind the self-driving capability of those cars.

Like others, Apple believes self-driving cars could ease congestion, prevent millions of crashes and save thousands of lives annually in traffic accidents often caused by drunk or distracted motorists.

So, Apple's vision for autonomous systems clearly extends beyond transportation, but for now, they appear to be getting ready to burn some rubber (um, hopefully not) in California with their latest self-driving software. While other companies working on self-driving technology have shared their plans, Apple has remained silent about its project for self-driving vehicles.

Similar research is being carried out by other automakers including Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, and by other groups including Uber and Google parent Alphabet.

Speculation about Apple's interest in expanding into automobiles began swirling in 2015 amid media reports that the company had begun secretly working on building its own electric auto under the name project "Titan".

In terms of timelines, you'd have to argue Apple is a long way behind the eight ball here - Google for example has been developing this technology for a very long time, Tesla have got vehicles on the road of their own making running live and development technology.

  • Arturo Norris