Apple may now be the latest company set to enter the what has become known as “the driverless car race.” According to Business Insider, the maker of the iPhone has received a permit to begin testing driverless vehicles in California.
According to USA Today, Apple has been rumored to have aspirations of working on driverless car technology for quite a while now. It has been referred to as “part of an initiative called Project Titan.” However, the company has been slow to confirm their involvement with driverless cars and has long kept quiet about their plans, per USA Today.
Back in September of 2016, when it was still only rumored that Apple might be quietly working on a driverless car project, the Inquisitr reported that it looked like Apple might be putting Project Titan on hold for the time being.
Apple granted autonomous car testing permit in California https://t.co/asdpSltxhQ
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 14, 2017
After much speculation, it looks like Apple can be safely added to the list of growing companies that is working on, or is at least interested in, developing autonomous vehicle technology. As Business Insider describes, Apple, Inc. has now been listed on California’s DMV list of those who had applied and were approved to test driverless cars.
Apple is just one of 30 companies that are on the list, which includes also includes Tesla and Google, whose involvement in the driverless car field is already well-known. Other more traditional automakers such as Honda, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz are listed as well.
Finally, there appears to be real and concrete proof of Apple’s interest in driverless car technology. However, as Business Insider also reported at the time, Apple previously sent a letter to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) back in December, saying that they were both “invested and excited” when it came to “autonomous driving software.”
A spokeswoman from the California DMV, who spoke with Business Insider, has confirmed the news that Apple has been awarded a permit as well. The spokeswoman said that the permit had been given for “three vehicles,” all of which are 2015 Lexus RX450h Sport Utility vehicles, and “six drivers.”
YES, IT’S TRUE:
(Apple is working on self-driving car stuff.)https://t.co/f8hxi2KMRS
— Mashable (@mashable) April 14, 2017
Per Business Insider, Apple did not comment when asked if they are now “testing autonomous vehicles on public roads.” Instead, the tech-giant referred to a previous statement from the December 2016 letter. As The Verge also describes, the question of whether or not Apple is currently testing driverless vehicles remains unknown for now.
“Whether Apple is actively testing autonomous vehicles, though, remains to be seen. Many companies sign up for the permit, but report no miles driven. We’ll know more about Apple’s secretive efforts after the company files its first report.”
Many proponents of autonomous vehicles argue that they will actually be safer and lead to fewer accidents than cars operated by human drivers. However, as of now, not everyone is convinced, and it may take a while before people are comfortable with the idea of getting into a driverless vehicle.
Uber recently decided to temporally “put the breaks,” so to speak, on testing driverless cars due to a crash in Arizona, according to Bloomberg Technology. However, the Uber vehicle was not at fault and there were, fortunately, no injuries, according to Josie Montenegro, a police information officer who spoke with Bloomberg.
Apple’s secret car project ramps up as iPhone prep continues https://t.co/fWSmDTJO7k
— Fortune (@FortuneMagazine) April 15, 2017
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 car race continues to become more competitive. It will certainly be interesting to see which automakers come out on top in the years ahead.
What do you think about Apple getting into the driverless car arena? Let us know in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]