Rumor has it that Apple is now working on autonomous driving technology and not a full-fledged auto.
By no means does this confirm an "Apple Car", in fact the permit granted to Apple covers the use of Lexus RX450h vehicles. Part of California's autonomous-vehicle laws require each manufacturer to submit accident and disengagement reports, the latter explaining when and why vehicles cede control to the driver.
The President of Consultancy at Theodore & Associates, and also a former vice president at Ford Motor Company and Chrysler, Chris Theodore, commented on the matter to Reuters: "This does confirm what's always been rumored: that Apple is at least toying with the idea of getting into the autonomous game in some capacity".
Apple will soon begin testing self-driving software with existing cars, Bloomberg reported, attributing the information to a person familiar with the matter.
We've been hearing that Apple was quietly getting into the self-driving vehicle game since early 2015, and in August of that year, we learned they had already sought out a testing site in Contra Costa County. It joins the ranks of Mercedes Benz, Google, Tesla, Nvidia, Ford, Honda and Nissan, among many others.
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It's no surprise Apple would include self-driving features in its vehicles considering the market's trend towards autonomy, with a growing number of auto makers adding driverless tech following Tesla and Google's lead.
It doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to see an Apple vehicle on the road tomorrow.
The report seems to suggest that Apple's research in the area is progressing along, though it's far too early to speculate as to just how far advanced and capable Apple's homegrown self-driving software actually is.
Speculation about Apple's interest in expanding into automobiles began swirling in 2015 amid media reports that the company had begun secretly working on building its own electric vehicle under the name project "Titan".
Asked for comment on Friday's developments, an Apple spokesperson referred back to the company's December statement regarding the statements given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Most major manufacturers, but also many technological groups are now working on autonomous vehicles, considered with the electric as the future of the automobile, with first series productions promised around 2020.
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