Apple given permission to test self-driving cars in California

Paterniano Del Favero
Aprile 18, 2017

California's Department of Motor Vehicles quietly updated its Web site Friday to include Apple in its list of 30 companies that have permits to test self-driving cars on California's public roads. The companies permitted to test autonomous vehicles on public roads are required to submit annual reports "summarizing the disengagements" of the autonomous driving technology.

Though Apple has yet to officially announce that they are working on self-driving cars, having them on the official list of companies confirms that they are, indeed, quietly working their way to the autonomous automobile industry.

It seems like Apple has not yet hit the brakes on its self-driving auto. Last fall, Apple shut down parts of their self-driving vehicle program and had some layoffs, but this week, as Gizmodo reports, there's evidence that they're still in the game.

Uber recently chose to temporally "put the breaks", so to speak, on testing driverless cars due to a crash in Arizona, according to Bloomberg Technology. Previously, there was an insane amount of speculation about Apple's self-driving vehicle project.

"We've provided comments to NHTSA because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems", the statement read.

There are whispers going around that Apple is developing and maturing its secret automotive project at a facility which is simply known as "SG5", located in Sunnyvale, California.

Some of the other rumors floating around point to Apple rolling out a completed autonomous vehicle as early as 2019, but that does seem to be a rather unrealistic date in the timeline. But that year, Apple was renovating an office complex in Sunnyvale, and the city's permitting documents referred to an "auto work area" in a warehouse.

Apple executives have been coy about their interest in cars. Recent rumors indicate that Apple had opted to test the prototypes in virtual reality to keep them away from the prying eyes of the media and competitors.

Google, an early developer of the technology, considers self-driving cars to be a potential new market, while Uber hopes to eventually eliminate the need for human drivers to shuttle its customers.

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