Apple joins driverless vehicle test applicants

As to whether Apple is working on a complete autonomous vehicle from scratch (which is not likely considering the costs and R&D required), the more feasible rumor that we would lean on would be to see Apple focus on an autonomous driving platform, partnering with an automaker for the hardware while Apple provides the "brains". It seems unlikely at this point that the company will suddenly compete with vehicle makers with an Apple auto.

As per California DMV, "The California Autonomous Vehicle Testing Regulations require every manufacturer authorized to test autonomous vehicles on public roads to submit an annual report summarizing the disengagements of the technology during testing".

"Today, April 14, 2017, California Department of Motor Vehicles issued Apple Inc.an autonomous vehicle test permit". He expects the firm is creating a safe and effective autonomous-driving system based on computer vision, laser-based navigation and mapping, while also building an in-car environment for passengers that leverages Apple's dominant position in entertainment and workspace technology.

The permit covers three vehicles - all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs - and six individual drivers. Apple's Project Titan, at one point was believed to have over 1000 employees that were working on it. Apple would have loved to keep this under wraps, but unfortunately, they have to get a permit before they begin testing.

Apple joins a growing list of traditional carmakers, technology companies, and small start ups to test drive cars in California - all vying to be the first to have commercially viable vehicles on the roads. Some of the new hires came from companies such as Ford and Tesla, who are also researching self-driving technology. Many companies sign up for the permit, but report no miles driven.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The permit does not necessarily mean Apple is building a vehicle. Uber was a notable hold-out-it refused to apply for a self-driving permit in December after it launched its self-driving auto pilot program. So, why do they need a permit for testing?

Multiple publications' attempts at getting a statement from Apple on this latest update resulted in a spokesperson redirecting them to a letter the company sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2016.

This is not the first time Apple has leapt into the automotive space.

  • Zachary Reyes