Apple self-driving car testing plan gives clues to tech program

It was back in September that Apple reportedly "repositioned its focus", shifting from production of a fully autonomous vehicle to just the self-driving technology itself.

Apple's fully autonomous 'Project Titan' may be dead in the water, but that doesn't mean the California tech company has given up entirely on the idea of a self-driving auto.

Apple recently obtained a permit from the California DMV that will allow it to test self-driving vehicles on public roads, and as part of that process, the company appears to be training employees to use whatever system it's testing. As the documents show, Apple has created an "Automated System" for self-driving cars and is gearing up to put staffers through a rigorous training program. Apple is looking for new hit products and autonomous vehicle technology is expected to revolutionise the traditional auto industry. During safety testing, drivers need to be ready to take control of the vehicle at any time.

Apple's secretive self-driving vehicle project just got a little less mysterious.

"The development platform is capable of sending electronic commands for steering, accelerating, and decelerating and may carry out portions of the dynamic driving task", an Apple official wrote.

Apple is required under California law to train its drivers in how to override an automated system before they go on public roads.

If the safety "driver" presses the brake or grabs the Logitech steering wheel, autonomous driving mode will be disengaged.

Some of the tidbits: Apple drivers must pass seven tests in order to complete the training program. We knew the permit applied to three self-driving Lexus RX540h SUVs, but not much more.

The document highlights different scenarios to be tested, from high speed driving and tight U-turns to lane changes.

  • Arturo Norris