Apple secures permit to test autonomous vehicles

All the three vehicles are 2015 Lexus RX450h.

A source from within the company told Bloomberg that testing would begin "soon", without providing any additional details.

Apple Inc., the manufacturer of iPhone and other electronic devices, joined Friday more than a dozen companies to be allowed to test self-driving vehicles on public roads in California.

They are also required to submit regular reports outlining any accidents that happen during testing and times that drivers turn off a vehicle's autonomous systems during a test. "Apple could bring innovation to either cars being retrofitted with the self-driving technology, or to new ones designed from scratch".

There have been rumors surrounding Apple's ambitions in the sector for a while now.

Start-ups are also vying to enter the market: Udacity Inc - an online education company cofounded by a pioneer of Google's self-driving vehicle initiative - is building an open-source autonomous auto and offers a training course to people who want to become self-driving auto engineers. According to Boston Consulting Group, at least 25% of the total miles driven in the United States in 2030 would be traveled in self-driving electric cars. Chief Executive Tim Cook has suggested that Apple wants to move beyond integration of Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems. Of course Apple's competitors have been testing autonomous vehicles long since that time. Most of the new hires specialized in computer vision, robotics, and visual navigation.

Uber recently made a decision to temporally "put the breaks", so to speak, on testing driverless cars due to a crash in Arizona, according to Bloomberg Technology.

But by last October, many in the team had reportedly left or been reassigned as a result of a strategic shift by the company to focus on the software side of self-driving technology. Of course, you may argue that Bosch is a large company that makes hundreds of products.

For years, annual iPhone rumors have been forced to compete with similarly hyped whisperings regarding the possibility of an Apple self-driving vehicle. It has been referred to as "part of an initiative called Project Titan". The team still has about 1,000 people, although Apple isn't confirming anything-including that there even is a Project Titan.

The NHTSA had sought comment on developing industry standards on self driving cars. So, why do they need a permit for testing?

The disagreement among Apple watchers might just be a reflection of disagreement on the issue within Apple.

  • Zachary Reyes