Apple Gets OK to Test Self-Driving Cars in California

Credit JOSH EDELSON  Getty Images

Credit JOSH EDELSON Getty Images

Internally known as Project Titan, the project at one point was understood to have more than 1,000 employees working on it, though the current scale of Apple's efforts is unknown.

Apple was so mum about the project that some thought it may have been shuttered, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader. Apple is the 30th group to receive a permit in California, alongside carmakers Ford, Volkswagen and General Motors, suppliers including Delphi and Bosch and start-ups such as Zoox, Drive.ai and Plus.ai.

While GM is already testing autonomous vehicles through its Cruise Automation unit in California, Arizona and MI, the new initiative will ramp up those efforts. Uber states it did not steal Google self-driving tech The details are limited, however Apple has been given permission to test three cars manufactured by Lexus, according to the BBC. So, despite laying off or reassigning "hundreds" of people who had been working on the secretive Project Titan auto project, Apple seems to have perhaps just pivoted and may be interested in developing its own version of a self-driving apparatus that they can then sell to other companies.

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. Those that do own testing permits are required to submit regular reports to the California DMV, so more will be known about Apple's specific autonomous exploits when the company submits its first report. "So until we see something more concrete, its biggest concern may be how much competition there is in the space and how quickly that competition seems to be advancing their autonomous efforts".

Asked for comment on Friday's developments, an Apple spokesperson referred back to the company's December statement regarding the statements given to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Uber recently made a decision to temporally "put the breaks", so to speak, on testing driverless cars due to a crash in Arizona, according to Bloomberg Technology.

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