Apple receives permit to test self-driving cars in California

This story is developing and will be updated.

Apple is the latest addition to a list of 30 entities that have received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Encountering self-driving cars in California is a daily occurrence for those living around Silicon Valley.

Apple confirmed its arrival in the market, but wouldn't discuss its intentions. Instead, the tech-giant referred to a previous statement from the December 2016 letter.

In a retrenchment of one of its most ambitious initiatives, Apple has shuttered parts of its self-driving auto project and laid off dozens of employees, according to three people briefed on the move who were not allowed to speak about it publicly.

At that time Apple said it had provided comments to NHTSA "because Apple is investing heavily in machine learning and autonomous systems". Bloomberg reported that the hiring of Mr. Dodge was part of its strategic changes within its Project Titan team to focus on a self-driving platform instead of developing a full-blown autonomous vehicle.

Apple has been hiring automotive experts-particularly those with experience in autonomous driving-for years.

What this says about Apple's future in the sector remains to be seen. The dry spell has raised doubts as to whether Apple lost some of its trend-setting magic with the death of co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011.

According to the California DMV, Apple has three vehicles registered under the autonomous driving permit, all of which are 2015 Lexus RX crossovers.

An Apple spokesperson did not divulge any details regarding when and where it intends to begin testing the technology. Securing approval to test its vehicles was likely no small task given that regulators have recently been given reason to be wary about allowing more self-driving cars on the road. It also means that Apple will have to report accidents and disengagements of autonomous driving modes, which will also be made public by the state. It wasn't the first to introduce a digital music player, cellphone, or tablet before its iPod, iPhone and iPad came out.

Latest News