April 21, 2017
Apple to start testing self-driving cars 0
The permit will allow Apple to start self-driving tests with three vehicles and six drivers, who will act in a supervisory role should the technology malfunction. The cars to be used for the trials are 2015 Lexus RX450h.
Apple has never made a public statement announcing their autonomous car intentions but over the past few years has recruited a large number of experts from the field.
Chris Theodore, a former vice-president at Ford and Chrysler, now acting as an independent consultant, said: “This does confirm what’s long been rumoured – that Apple is at least toying with the idea of getting into the autonomous game in some capacity.”
“This is not necessarily automobiles as initially rumoured, but software or possibly hardware associated with autonomous technology.”
A spokesman for Apple declined to comment, instead pointing back to a statement that the company made back in November regarding autonomous vehicles.
“Apple 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,” the company’s director of product integrity, Steve Kenner, wrote in that five-page letter to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The bigwigs at Apple have been reticent to discuss their ideas with regards to the transport sector. Chief executive Tim Cook has intimated that the company wants to move beyond smartphone technology and towards vehicle infotainment systems.
Apple is just one of a large number of traditional car manufacturers, tech companies and small start-ups to take steps towards test-driving autonomous cars in California. Ford, VW, Daimler, Tesla, GM and Alphabet have all also been issued permits in recent months.
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