Published: Sun, April 16, 2017
Technology | By Timothy Carter

Apple to design self-driving cars

Apple to design self-driving cars

Apple Inc., the manufacturer of iPhone and other electronic devices, on Friday secured a permit to test self-driving vehicles on public roads in California. The list includes VW, Mercedes, Google, Bosch, Tesla, BMW, GM, Ford, Baidu, Honda, Subaru and Faraday. As per a report published by Bloomberg, a source in Apple informed that the company would soon start testing its technology on public roads in California.

Long suspected of working on a self-driving vehicle project, Apple has never openly and directly discussed its interest in cars. A quarter of all miles driven in the USA may be traveled in shared, self-driving electric cars by the end of the next decade, Boston Consulting Group said this month.

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".

Aside from the new permit, Apple has provided little insight into its vehicle-related efforts. In their letter to the NHTSA, they noted that " the company is investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation". Apple wants a piece of this action, but it's got a lot of competition: 29 other companies have autonomous vehicle testing permits in California. Apple Inc has added the crowd of companies that are expecting to offer the autonomous auto.

Apple's permit in California applies to three vehicles - all 2015 Lexus RX 450h hybrid SUVs - and six individual drivers, according to The Assciated Press. The state requires a human behind the wheel during such testing.

The DMV's website was updated Friday to acknowledge Apple becoming a permit holder.

The permit does not necessarily mean Apple is building a vehicle. Apple had not openly announced that it was working on an electric vehicle. At the moment, it appears that Apple is more focused on developing the software for the self-driving cars, than the actual vehicles themselves.

"We are always looking at new things, and the auto space in general is an area that it's clear that there are a lot of technologies that will either become available or will be able to revolutionize the vehicle experience", Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook told investors in October a year ago.

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