Apple Inc has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said on Friday.
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 bring self-driving cars to the masses.
Companies that have been issued permits also include Alphabet Inc’s Google unit, Ford Motor Co, Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG, Tesla Motors Inc and General Motors Co.
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Apple Inc has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California, the state Department of Motor Vehicles said on Friday. Apple joins a growing list of traditional carmakers, technology companies, and small start ups to test drive cars in California
Many companies have said the first cars will launch in 2020 but some experts believe it may take much longer due to regulatory challenges.
After a five-page letter last November from Steve Kenner, Apple’s director of product integrity, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company was under increased speculation that they would enter into the competitive self-driving space.
‘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,’ Kenner wrote.
Apple executives have been coy about their interest in cars.
Chief Executive Tim Cook has suggested that Apple wants to move beyond integration of Apple smartphones into vehicle infotainment systems.
Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Rumors began sweeping the web last year that Apple was toying with the idea of developing its own self-driving car.
And along with news word of mouth, came radical visual designs.
A concept released by Luca Wrede showed a build that mirrored the minimalist design common to Apple products.
A wraparound dashboard screen shows speed, traffic predictions, and answers calls.
The vehicle can pull up Apple Maps, Safari, and Siri, which are indicated all on the interactive dashboard.
The concept car can even connect to the Apple Watch.
SELF-DRIVING CARS TAKE TO THE RACE TRACK IN CALIFORNIA
Nine self-driving cars took to the course in Northern California, with the goal of simply making it round the 2 mile (3.2 kilometre) track.
All cars competing had a driver behind the wheel to intervene if necessary, and only four out of the nine made it around the curvy course without human help.
The self-driving cars were involved in a race, called ‘Self Racing Cars’ that included students and entrepreneurs from startup companies.
Nine self-driving cars took to the course in Northern California, with the goal of simply making it round the two mile (3.2 kilometre track). Pictured is an AutonomouStuff Automated Research Development Vehicle
For the small companies and students, the race course offered a large, safe testing environment.
Deciding how to slow down for a turn, for instance, is a big question for a car that drives itself, and startups cannot necessarily afford access to a major testing facility without pedestrians.
Some cars used GPS and other location tracking to follow digital maps to get around the course.
For the small companies and students, the race course offered a large, safe testing environment. Pictured is an engineer working on an AutonomouStuff Automated Research Development Vehicle
This video is just the latest installment of the unraveling rumors surrounding ‘Project Titan,’ and may open the door for more questions than it answers.
The firm could see offering consumers its own car, as a way to push their technology into the driver seat.
However, shortly after, Apple announced it would be shifting its focus to another venture.
The tech giant said it would put more energy into creating the software for an autonomous vehicle, opening the door to the possibility of partnering with other car companies.
But the last news may suggest that Apple was sticking to its original plan and tricked the public into thinking otherwise.