On Friday, Californiaâ€™s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) updated its website to reflect that Apple now has a permit to test self-driving cars on public roads.
Apple has been hiring automotive expertsâ€”particularly those with experience in autonomous drivingâ€”for years. (In 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even taunted the company saying, â€œIf you donâ€™t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple.â€) But the company has long kept quiet about its aspirations. That began to change in December, when Apple wrote a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) saying that it was â€œinvesting heavilyâ€ in machine learning to support autonomous systems, especially in transportation.
The update on the California DMV website confirms that, after yearsÂ of speculation, Apple is serious about building self-driving car software.
Getting an autonomous-car testing permit with the California DMV requires that a company fill out an application to test its technology and take out an insurance policy for any vehicles equipped with it. Companies testing self-driving cars must keep logs of disengagements, or times when the car had to be taken out of self-driving mode for safety or other reasons.
Californiaâ€™s relatively strict testing rules havenâ€™t deterred companies from seeking testing permits. Uber was a notable hold-outâ€”it refused to apply for a self-driving permit in December after it launched its self-driving car pilot program. California then revoked the registrations of the companyâ€™s cars, so Uber took its test cars to Arizona, where no such registration is required. But a few months later, Uber filed all the appropriate paperwork anyway and is currently permitted to test its technology on California roads.
According to Bloomberg, Appleâ€™s California permit â€œcovers three 2015 Lexus RX540h SUVs and six drivers.â€ Ars contacted Apple for more information, but we have not yet received a response.
from Ars Technica http://ift.tt/2pjbkZT