Apple Receives a Permit to Test Self-Driving Vehicles

Once its autonomous vehicles are on the road, Apple must submit reports of accidents within 10 business days. Apple wants a piece of this action, but it's got a lot of competition: 29 other companies have autonomous vehicle testing permits in California. It joins the ranks of Mercedes Benz, Google, Tesla, Nvidia, Ford, Honda and Nissan, among many others.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple's permit covers three 2015 Lexus SUVs and six different drivers who must sit behind the wheel to monitor the driving and takeover when needed.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles' newly-updated list of carmakers and tech companies that are approved to test autonomous vehicles in the state now includes Apple.

As Gizmodo notes, the permit does not necessarily mean that Apple is going to give us an Apple Car, it just means that they're still trying to develop the autonomous-driving technology that all these other companies are also racing to develop.

It's also possible that Apple has applied for the permit just to have one, but isn't ready to test it out just yet.

We've been hearing that Apple was quietly getting into the self-driving auto game since early 2015, and in August of that year, we learned they had already sought out a testing site in Contra Costa County.

There's no guarantee that this means Apple is building an autonomous vehicle.

After a five-page letter last November from Steve Kenner, Apple's director of product integrity, to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the company was under increased speculation that they would enter into the competitive self-driving space. Applying for and receiving the permit, however, has made Apple's interest in self-driving cars more public.

The deal supports a $14 million investment GM is making in a new research and development facility in the technology corridor that is expected to result in an additional 1,100 new jobs, The Detroit News reported.

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