Apple Receives Permit to Test Autonomous Cars in California

The permit is significant because it all but confirms Apple's work on self-driving technology, although the focus of that push is unclear.

Now that it has its permit, the company appears poised to begin testing its software on public roads in California.

The list, which can be viewed on the website for California's Department of Motor Vehicles, was updated on April 14, with "Apple Inc." having been newly added. So, why do they need a permit for testing? The permit requires companies to disclose traffic incidents related to their testing within 10 business days of the event. Though Apple has never publicly acknowledged the existence of Project Titan, the DMV's permit is the strongest evidence yet that the iPhone maker is developing the autonomous driving technology.

The vehicles in question are all 2015 Lexus RX450h models, it should be noted - rather than those little "Apple Cars" that we had seen a bit before.

Apple's move into self-driving cars has been hotly anticipated for years, and Friday's news is the latest indication that it is serious about the space. At last, the company's secretive efforts was crowned by the success.




Among the list of permitted companies is also ride-sharing company Uber, who carried out autonomous testing without a permit in California past year. Apple itself declined to comment about the permit, instead referring The Verge to a letter it sent to the USA federal government in December 2016 which stated that Apple is "investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems". Last year, Apple hired the former CEO of QNX, Dan Dodge, to develop the software for Project Titan.

With $246 billion in cash, Apple also could easily afford to buy technology that accelerates its development of self-driving cars.

While it may be a while yet before autonomous vehicles become mainstream, many companies appear to be quite enthusiastic about the phenomenon, and the driverless auto race continues to become more competitive.

The disagreement among Apple watchers might just be a reflection of disagreement on the issue within Apple.

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